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n ^ 5 ^oU. 2."^ 



I^arbarlr College fLthrarg 



FROM THE GIFT OF 

WILLIAM ENDICOTT, Jr. 

(Class of X887) 
OF BOSTON 



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Digitized by v-iQ<^ — — 

JAMES MILES. 
ANTIQUARIAN BOOKSELLER. 



u-»^ Mnva Leeds. 



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1 



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HISTORY OF LEE AND ITS 
NEIGHBOURHOOD: 



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Lee Parish Church, a.d. 1813 to 1841. 



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HISTORY OF LEE 



AND 



ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD, 



F. H. HART, 



Member of th-e Lee Parochial Committees^ Guardian of the Poor, *5r»r., and formerly 
Overseer for the Parish of Lee t and Surveyor of Highways. 



LEE : 
PRINTED FOR THE AUTHOR BY C. NORTH, 39, TURNER ROiCD. 

1882. 



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G^'-'S^o^.a-cj 







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CONTENTS. 



^Frontispiece - - - - Lee Parish Churches, from a. d. 1080 to 184 1. 

CHAPTER I. 

PAGE 

The ancient village of Lee — Its Churches — Old Church Tower and Tablets 
— Old Churchyard and its Monuments, &c. — The Rev. G. Lock — New 
Rectory — The Boone Family — Mr. Aislabie — Sale of Boone's Estate^ — 
Merchant Taylors' Almshouses — Building of Church Street and Dacre 
Street — Fine Timber of Lee — Its Water — Old Mansions — Mr. Young's 
house — The Bonor Family — Lee House — Pentland House — Manor House 
—The Firs— The Manor of Lee I- 1 6 

CHAPTER II. 

Dacre House — The Fludyer Family — Lady Dacre — Mr. Roper — Successive 
Occupiers of Dacre Estate — Robbers — The Cedars Estate — Additions by 
Mr. Brandram — Public Improvements, Belmont Hill — Terrington's 
Cottage — Diverting Love Lane — Gipsies' Encampment — Enclosing Open 
Spaces — Mr. Brandram and the new Church — Purchase of The Cedars 
by Mr. Penn — Improvements and Additions — Alteration of Road — The 
fine Elm Trees — Views of Mansion and Grounds — Kitchen Garden — 
Shooter's Hill — Severndroog Castle — Wricklemarsh House — Morden 
College — Eltham Palace and Parks — Hamlet of Mottingham — Claypit 
Farm— Grove Park I7~30 

CHAPTER HI. 

The Padsh Boundaries — Leafy Oak — Manor Market Gardens and Farm — 
Hokum Pokum — Robberies — Lee Bridge and Houses near — Belmont 
House — Hally's old Nursery — Proprietary School — Gravel Pits — Top of 
Lee Park — Lee Road — Kidbrooke — Eltham new Road — New Bridge, 
Lee Green — Windmill — Harrow Inn — Floods — Drowning of Mr. Green 
and horse — Tiger's Head Inn — Soldiers through Lee, 18 15 — Objection- 
able Excursionists, and Low Tone of Society — Lee Races — Building 
Improvements, High-road and Burnt Ash-lane —Terrier of Freehold Land 
— Glebe Rents and Tithes — Law of Gavelkind — Residents in 1814 — 
First Modem Houses - - - - 3^~4^ 

CHAPTER IV. 

Places of Public Worship in Lee : The Parish Church — Christ Church, Lee 
Park— Holy Trinity Church— St. Mildred's, Burnt Ash Hill— St. Peter's, 
Eltham *Road — Boone's Chapel — New Church in Handen Road — 
Congregational Chapel — Lee Baptist Chapels — Bible Christian Chapel 
— Charities in Lee : Boone's Charity — Queen Elizabeth's College, 
Greenwich— Hatcliffe's Charity— Simeon Shole's Trust— The Sladen 
Trust — Lampe Meade — Lee Soup Kitchen — Fund to alleviate Distress in 
Lee, January, 1861 43-52 



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CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER V. 



PAGE 



The Schools in Lee and Neighbourhood — The Colfe Grammar School, 
Lewisham — School in Eltham Church Tower, and the new one built in 
1 8 16— Dame Schools in Lee — Lee National Schools : their enlargement 
— Infant Schools — Hedgeley Street Schools — Boone Street School — 
Board Schools, Bromley Road — Lee Working Men's Institution — Lee 
and Blackheath Horticultural Society — The Disastrous Floods of 1878 
— The Lewisham Union of Parishes 53""^* 

CHAPTER VL 

The Village of Charlton — Horn Fair : its Traditiional Origin — Charlton 
House, Past and Present — The Parish Church — Monuments to the 
Departed — The Vaults the Sepultre of Eminent Mei#— The Newton 
Family — The Pedigree of the Wilson Family, as published in the 
** Proceedings of the Sussex Archaeological Society" - - - 63-8 1 

CHAPTER VIL 

Plumstead Board of Works, and Offices — Eastcombe Park — The Wood- 
lands — Mr. Angerstein — George III. at The Woodlands — Mr. Anger- 
stein's Success as an Underwriter — Vanburgh Bastille and Fields — 
Greenwich Park and Palace — The Royal Owners of Greenwich Palace — 
Queen Elizabeth and the Citizens of London — A German Baron's 
Account of Queen Elizabeth's Court — Greenmch Hospital Founded — 
The Painted Hall —The Uses of the Hospital, Past and Present— The 
Ranger's House— Greenwich Market — Greenwich Parish Church - 82—89 

CHAPTER VHL 

Blackheath — Montague House — Caverns on the Hill and Heath — Discoveries 
by Dr. Plot and Others — Earthquake in 1749 — The Heath as a Soldiers' 
Encamping Ground — As a Meeting Place for Processions — Volunteers' 
Drill' Ground — Lewisham Manor purchased by Admiral George Legge 
— The Dartmouth Family — Lewisham Parish Church — The Rev. 
Abraham Colfe — Lewisham Village, and Old Mansions — Hither Green 
— Eastdown Park and Former Nurseries — Returns of Lewisham Union 
for Year ending Lady Day, 1 881 90-99 

ADDENDA. 

Consecration of the Church of The Good Shepherd— St. Mildred's made » 

separate Ecclesiastical Parish 100 



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PREFACE. 



fflAVING now completed my long - promised History of the 
ancient Parish of Lee, I lespectfuUy present the same to 
my Fellow-Parishioners and other Readers. It owes its publication to 
an appeal from many old Parishioners to the Writer, and as I have 
been a resident in the parish for upwards of seventy years, and a 
Parochial Officer and elected Member of the various Parochial Com- 
mittees for* more than forty years, and being familiar, also, with the 
local traditions and records of the Parish, and having in my possession 
many ancient plans and drawings of the old Church, Rectory, and 
Mansions, I am enabled to do something in writing this short history, 
and leaving a memento of my local knowledge to the Parishioners. 

•Several years have rolled away since the first application was made 
to me for its production. It is now due to the leisure the Writer 
enjoys, after having toiled hard in various ways, with close application, 
for the benefit of the Parish at large. For the part of the History 
previous to the present century, I have employed Hasted's and 
Edwards's Topographies and Surveys, and no one can be more con- 
vinced of the truth of these materials, and their ability to do justice to 
the subject, than I am. Every parish has its history in its Church 
Registers and Parish Records and local Traditions, which may prove 
of value to all succeeding generations of Parishioners ; and I venture to 
hope that this History may be of some value too, so far as it forms an 
integral part, however small, in a parish with its landmarks. 

1 



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U PREFACE. 

Some of the matters I have touched upon, are the great local 
changes during the past half-century j the ancient tenure of the Manor 
and its surroundings, with the gentlemen's country seats; also the 
ancient monuments in the Old Churchyard and on the Tower, one 
erected in 1604 to Bryan Ainsley and Awdry his wife, and his three 
daughters; also one to Nicholas Ainsley, "sergant of the seller'^ 
(chief butler) to Queen Elizabeth ; and other memorials of the de- 
parted, worthy of notice. 

To ilhistrate the good and stately old mansions, I may mention 
the Manor House (H. Wolffram, Esq.), the adjoining one (J. H* 
XouNG, Esq., J. P.), Pentland House (R. Whyte, Esq.), and The Firs 
(J. W. Larking, Esq., J. P.), all in the Old Road; also Dacre House,^ 
Bxandram Road ; and The Cedars (Mrs. Penn), Belmont HilL. 

" The stately homes of England^ 
How beautiful they stand ! 
Amidst their tall ancestral trees, 
O'er aU the pleasant land." 

I earnestly hope that I have not failed in doing my best to place 
before my fellow-parishioners, and others, a History that they will be 
pleased to peruse for information of the past ; although I know I have 
executed my^ task in a manner not above criticism. 

F. H. HART. 

Brandram Roady Lee, 
July, iSSf, 




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HISTORY OF 

LEE AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 

CHAPTER I. 

The ancient village of Lee— Its Churches — Old Church Tower and Tablets — Old 
Churchyard and its Monuments, &c. — The Rev. G. Lock — New Rectory — The 
Boone Family — Mr. Aislabie — Sale of Boone's Estate — Merchant Taylors Alms- 
houses — Building of Church Street and Dacre Street — Fine Timber of Lee — Its 
Water — Old Mansions — Mr. Young's house — ^The Bonor Family — Lee House^ 
Pentland House — Manor House — The Firs — The Manor of Lee. 

|hE village of Lee, in the county of Kent, was anciently written^ 
Legheart^ and in old Latin, Laga^ !>., "a place that lies shel- 
tered." It is described in Domesday Book, under the general 
title of " Bishop's Lands," as follows : — " In the Greenwich Hundred. — 
Walter of Douay holds Lee from Odo, Bishop of Baieux, Earl of Kent, 
the king's half-brother. In the time of The Conqueror, anno 1080, it 
was rated at half a sowling. The arable is four plough lands ; there are 
two ploughs in the -demesne, and eleven villains. Here are two 
domestics, with two cottages, and ^v^ acres of meadow, and a wood of 
ten hogs. In the time of Edward, and when it was transfeired to the 
Bishop, it was valued at three pounds ; its present estimate is one 
hundred shillings. Alwin held it of the Saxon king." 

The parish contains about 1,273 acres of land, the village being on 
the high road to Maidstone, from whence rises a hill to the north, on 
which the ancient church of St Margaret's formerly stood, with a valley 
again between that and Blackheath. Lee is within the ecclesiastical 
jurisdiction of Rochester and Deanery of Greenwich, but was formerly 
in Dartford deanery. 

The first church, which was of great antiquity, was taken down in the 
year 18 13, and a new one of much larger dimensions erected under the 
direction of a committee of gentlemen. This building cost ;^4,2oo; 
part of which was raised by subscriptions, and the remainder borrowed 
at interest The foundation-stone was laid by Thomas Brandram and 
Christopher Godmond, Esqrs., the churchwardens, on the 15 th of 
September, 181 3. The body of the church and chancel was 56 feet in 
length, built of brick ; the old tower was left standing at the west end, 
and there were added to the top of it a neat acute spire, cased with 
copper, and pinnacles at the corners, which rendered it a pleasant 
object from Blackheath and the surrounding neighbourhood. 

The patronage of this church was anciently esteemed as an append- 
age to the manor, and it continued so until King Charles I. granted 
the fee of the manor to Ralph Freeman, reserving the right of patronage 
of the church to the Crown, which continues to be at the present time. 

This comparatively new church being inadequate to the spiritual 



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4 HISTORY OF LEE 

requirements of the parish, was pulled down on the 31st of May, 1841^ 
The present more spacious building was erected, and continues to be 
used at the present time. 

The ancient church was valued in the fifteenth year of Edward I. at 
10 marcs; and in the King's Books at ;^3 iis, Sd. ; and the yearly 
tenths at 75. 2d. By virtue of the Commission of Inquiry into the 
Value of Church Livings, from the Court of Chancery, in the year 1650, 
it was returned, that Lee was " a parsonage with a house and 19 acres of 
glebe land, all worth ^^^o per annum." The parsonage house formerly 
adjoined the churchyard* on the west side, and was built by the Rector 
of the parish, the Rev. Abraham Sherman, in the year 1636. 

To the east of the old tower is a monument to this rev. gentleman's 
memory, who died Oct 5 th, 1654. On the north side of the altar in 
the old church, there was formerly a monument with the figure ot a 
man ih armour, and an inscription to the memory of Bryan Ainsley, 
Esq., of Lee, and Awdry his wife, only daughter of Robert Tyrrel, of 
Essex, Esq., by whom he had one son and three daughters : Bryan, 
who died s.p. ; Grace, married to Sir John Wildgoose ; Christian, to 
Lord Sondes, lord of the manor of Lee in 1600; and Cordell, to Sir 
William Harvey. Bryan, their father, died in 1604, being at the time 
one of the gentlemen pensioners of Queen Elizabeth ; Awdry died 1591. 
On the east side of the old tower is a tablet to their memory, erected 
by Cordell, their daughter. Also, on the south side of the altar of the 
old church was a memorial brass, with the figure of a man in armour,, 
kneeling at a desk, and an open book before him ; an inscription in 
black letter, under the figure, shows it to be to the memory of Nicholas 
Ainsley, " sergant of the seller" to Queen Elizabeth; obiit 1593, setat 
58. It has been re-erected in the present church. Also, an inscription 
was formerly here for George Hatcliff, the King's Treasurer in Ireland, 
and one of the Clerks of the King's Household; he died 15 14. 

The old churchyard contains many elegant monuments^ worthy of 
note. On the east side, near the fence, about 22 yards from the road, 
is a plain table tomb to the memory of a late celebrated Astronomer 
Royal, Dr. Edmond Halley, who died in 1742, aged 85 ; also to his 
eldest daughter Margaret, died 1743, aged 55, and to his youngest 
daughter, Mrs. C. Price, died 1765, aged 77 years. In the same vault 
lies buried John Pond, the Astronomer Royal, born 1767, died at 
Greenwich 1836, aged 69 years. 

A few yards in front of this tomb lies Cocking, the aeronaut, who fell 
from Mr. Charles Green's balloon, in a parachute, in a field called 
Broom Field, Burnt Ash Hill, July 24th, 1837. 

Southward from the north-east corner of the churchyard is a large 
pyramidical tomb, with the arms of the family of Call. In a vault 
underneath is buried Sir John Call, Bart, F.R.S., of Whitford, in Corn- 
wall, who died at the Manor House, Old Road, Lee, March 1801, aged 
69 ; and his son, John B. Call, aged 17, also died at the Manor House, 
then the seat of Sir Francis Baring, Bart Farther to the north-east 
comer, lies buried William Parsons, Esq., the actor, who died Feb. 3rd, 
1795, aged 59 : on the headstone is the following inscription : — 

** Here Parsons lies. Oft on life's busy stage, 

With Nature, Reader, hast thou seen him vie ; 
He science knew, knew the manners, knew the age ; 
Respected knew to live ; lamented, die," 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 5 

Also to his son, Master William Parsons, who died November 1st, 1791, 
aged 12J years : — 

** You that have lost an angel, pity me !" 

On the right, after you enter the churchyard gate, is the grave and 
headstone of Ann Cook, servant to Nathaniel Scarlett, Esq., of Lee-place, 
who died in 182 1, at the advanced age of 104 years. Also near the foot- 
path, in the front of the former, lies buried Mr. William Sidery, the 
grandfather of the present family, who was an active parochial officer. 
He died ist December, 1825, aged 54, leaving a widow and large family, 
honoured and respected by his fellow-parishioners of Lee, who could 
all bear testimony of his worth during a residence of 25 years, and 
also to the manifold services he had rendered to the parish as Overseer 
and other important offices for many years, notwithstanding his business 
engagements. His solicitude for the improvement of the poor, and his 
zeal and energy in conducting his public offices were beyond all^praise. 

During Mr. Sidery's overseership a very curious circumstance of 
parochial settlement was adjudicated by the magistrates in petty session 
at Blackheath, in 18 16. A young man, a farm servant to Mr. Richard 
Stames, of Horn Park Farm, was taken ill, and became chargeable to 
this parish ; but the boundary of Lee and Eltham going through the 
centre of the house, his bed in fact being in the two parishes, there arose 
the difficulty of which parish should be taxed with the settlement. The 
Bench decided that as the young man on getting out of bed would 
stand in Eltham parish, Eltham must be charged with his maintenance ; 
and so the case was settled, to the entire satisfaction of Lee. 

The churchyard being so near London, many opulent citizens are 
interred in it 

A little distance from the north-east corner is the family vault and 
tomb to the memory of the Rev. George Lock, who died 17 th Novem- 
ber, 1864, at the old Rectory house, adjoining the old churchyard, in 
the 94th year of his age, and the 62nd of his incumbency. 

The Rev. G. Lock was inducted to the living of Lee (which is in 
the gift of the Lord Chancellor) 3rd September, 1803, on the death of 
Courtney, the Lord Bishop of Exeter, and his duties were performed in 
no less than three churches of Lee, viz., the first, built of chalk and 
flint (it is supposed in the reign of William the Conqueror, he having 
given the church and manor to his half-brother, Odo, Bishop of Baieux) ; 
the second, a beautiful little structure, built on the same site as the first, 
to accommodate the increased population, with 500 sittings, the former 
having only 150; (this church was opened August 14th, 18 14, and was 
afterwards for many years regularly attended by H.R.H. the Princess 
Sophia of Gloucester, Lord Bexley, and many of the nobility,) and also 
in the present church. This last church was consecrated by Murray, 
Lord Bishop of Rochester, and the Rector's youngest daughter. Miss 
Julia Lock, was the first bride that was led to the altar (which gracious act 
was performed by Lord Bexley) to be married to the Rev. Mr. Hanson. 

Mr. Lock lived to see many changes in the parish. The population 
in 1801 wa$ only 300; in 1841 it had increased to 2,359; ^^^ ^^ ^^^ 
time of the rev. gentleman's death 8,000. Mr. Lock's kind attention to 
the sick and poor was beyond all praise; and at one time, in 1809, he 
had, at his own expense. Dr. Moore (a pupil of the famous 
Dr. Jenner, and brother of Sir John Moore, who fell at Coninna), to 
vaccinate all those children whose parents could be induced to allow it 
to be done, in order to prevent the spreading of that dreadful scourge 

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6 HISTORY OF LEE 

the small-pox, and many a valuable life was thus saved He alsa 
attended in her last moments the eccentric Lady Dacre, who died at 
Dacre House in 1808. On the occasion of the consecration of the 
present church a silver model of the same was presented to him by the 
inhabitants as a token of their great respect 

After a lapse of twelve years, the present church of St Margaret's 
was inadequate to the increasing wants of the population, and the 
parishioners resolved, out of respect to their Rector, to build another 
church, to be called " Christ Church," after the name of the college at 
Oxford in which he was educated, and present it to him on the fiftieth 
anniversary of his presentation to the living of Lee, and which was done 
on the 3rd September, 1853, on which occasion the foUowing lines 
were penned by a local poet : — 

"JUBILEE DAY, 

** BY JOSIAH THOMAS. 

" It is Jubilee Day, and weVe met here with pride. 

To welcome our father, our pastor and guide. 

Who for fifty long years hath his duties performed, 

While the breasts of the poor at his presence have warm'd. 

For they knew that in him they'd a kind-hearted friend. 

Who would to their cares and their sorrows attend. 
Then a hearty hurrah ! shout again and again. 
For the heart that can feel for another man's paiiu 

•* Oh ! when did the wretched for sympathy wait. 
Or the widow and fatherless turn from his gate ; 
The heggax he'd chide, but relieve his distress. 
For the fires of pity burned high in his breast. 
The dying would bless him ; with purse and with prayer. 
He'd drive out the demons of want and despair. 
Then a hearty hurrah I &c. 

•* I have watched him in sunshine, I've watched him in rain, 
I have watched him in health and I've watched him in pain, 
I have watched him when wide desolation was spread. 
And the snowflakes were falling full fast on his head. 
But his step it was quick, and his purpose was sure. 
When out on errand for helping the poor. 
Then a hearty hurrah ! a:c. 

•* Our children shall mention in ages to come, 
How their forefathers told of the deeds he had done ; 
And the name of a LOCK, and the fame of his worth 
Shall rank with the generous spirits of earth ; 
And Envy shall turn from his task in despair, 
If he ventures to tarnish a name that's so fair. « 

Then a hearty hurrah ! shout again and again 
For the heart that can feel for another man's pain." 

'*L€g, Kent, Sept. 3rd, iSsjJ" 

It pleased God to spare Mr. Lock's life to see the eleventh anniver- 
sary of the dedication ot this church ; but soon after that time, this 
good minister of Gk)d's Word departed this life in peace, full of honour, 
beloved and respected by all, both rich and poor. 

The funeral took place at one o'clock on Thursday afternoon, No- 
vember 25 th, 1864, t^c mortal remains of the deceased being consigned 
to their last resting-place in the family vault before mentioned, wherein 
are also deposited the remains of his wife, who died twenty-eight years 
before him, those of his two daughters, Miss Lock and Mrs. Hanson, 
and of two of his grandchildrea Miss Lock died at the late residence of 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 7 

her grandmother, Eliot Vale, Blackheath, in 1877, ^g^^ 7^ I Mrs- Han- 
son died at the old Rectory in 1862, aged 53 ; Mrs. Moore, died at 
Eltham in 1870, aged 25 ; and Mr. Sydenham George Hanson, died at 
Lee in 1878, aged 32. The Rector left strict injunctions that his 
funerd should be as private as possible ; but he had rendered himself 
so dear to his parishioners that large numbers flocked to pay their last 
mournful tribute of respect to his memory, and all felt that a great 
shepherd in Israel had been gathered to his rest 

Mr. Lock resided in the old Rectory sixty-one years. This building 
having fallen much into decay, the new Rector, the Rev. Charles Law- 
rence, built the present one on a much larger scale. 

The first stone of the new Rectory was laid on the 2nd October, 
1866, by Mrs. Lawrence, the Rector's wife, in the presence of a small 
assembly, including the Rector, the Revds. T. Needham and J. Kemp- 
thorne (curates), Messrs. S. H. de Zoete and H. M. Lawrence, (church- 
wardens), F. H. Hart and William Sidery (sidesmen), Ewin Christian 
(architect), and Benjamin Wells (builder). Mrs. Lawrence was presented 
with an ivory-handled silver trowel by Master Duncan Lawrence, son of 
the Churchwarden, and having spread the mortar, the stone was lowered 
and adjusted, when she gave three taps with a mahogany mallet, and 
the foundation-stone was declared duly laid Within the stone were 
deposited a bottle containing that day's Times, one each of the silver 
coins of the realm of that year's coinage, and a parchment document, 
on which was as follows : — " This stone was laid by Mrs. Charles Law- 
rence, wife of the Rector, the Rev. Charles Lawrence, on Tuesday, 
Oct. 2nd, 1866." Mr. Hart proposed three cheers in honour of the 
occasion, which were duly responded to. The party were afterwards 
entertained by the Rector to a luncheon. 

The old Rectory and three-quarters of an acre of land were pur- 
chased by John Penn, Esq., and added to The Cedars estate. The 
house was sold by auction April 6th, 1866, and on being pulled down, 
the materials were found to be very much decayed ; the principal tim- 
bers in the brickwork walls being entirely rotten. The old house had 
been built 230 years, and bore all the marks of age, from having been 
exposed to the winds and changes of weather for so long a time. It 
underwent many alterations and repairs in order to keep it tenable 
during the incumbency of Mr. Lock, who, when informed of the 
creaking timbers, used to say it was " a false alarm." 

On the west side of the old Church Tower, and near the former 
Rectory garden, is the large mausoleum of the Boone family, erected 
for the interment of its members, who formerly lived at Lee, in an 
ancient red brick mansion, surrounded by a moat, in the Old Road, 
for many years called " Boone's Mansion," and which was pulled down 
in 1824, when the whole of the estate was sold for building purposes. 

Christopher Boone, merchant, of London, and Mary his wife, by 
their deed, in 1683, enfeoffed the Master and Wardens of the Merchant 
Taylors' Company, of London, in a parcel of land in the parish, on 
. which they built a chapel and four houses, one of the latter a residence 
for a school-mistress, who should teach poor children to read and work ; 
and the others for six poor ancient alms-people ; also a piece of ground 
for a garden plot, and 23 acres of land near Dacre House, let for j£i^ 
per annum ; also the sum of ;^42 per annum out of fee farm rent of 
the City of Hereford ; in trust, that the said Master and Wardens should 



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i HISTORY OF LEE 

pay yearly sums to the several recipients of the charity, and likewise 
provide firing, gowns, and other necessaries for the use and comfort of 
the" almsfolk and children ; the residue of the income of the charity to 
defray the costs of repairs. The deed further provided that the Master 
and Wardens were to visit their charge on the first Thursday in July 
every year ; the Rector of Lee to be the chaplain, or if he refused or 
be removed, then the Vicar of Lewisham, or failing him, some other 
Minister of the Church of England; the school-mistress to teach twelve 
poor children, to be presented by the Rector and Churchwardens of ' 
Lee; the alms-people, two in a house, to be men or women of the 
poor of this parish, who had lived orderly, and supported themselves by 
honest labour in their younger days ; or if there could not be found 
such of the parish of Lee, then of Lewisham, and if not there, then of 
Greenwich. 

Thomas Boone, Christopher's son, died in 1749, and left the man- 
sion by will to his natural daughter, who married Charles Comforts, Esq. 
This lady died in 1777, when the estate, by limitation in Thomas 
Boone's will, went to his nephew, son of his brother. Charles Boone, 
Esq., possessed it till his death in 18 19, when it passed to Lady Drum- 
mond, his only daughter. 

Charles Boone was the last descendant of the family who resided in 
the mansion at Lee. He let the mansion and grounds and left the 
neighbourhood. The family for many generations lived here in a hos- 
pitable manner ; and by their last representative leaving Lee, the poor 
of the parish had to deplore the loss of many liberal benefactions in 
several instances of charity. 

Charles Boone, Esq., died in 181 9, at the advanced age of 90 years ; 
Harriet, his wife, died previously, in 181 1, aged 67; and their son 
Charles, a promising boy, died at Lee in 1786. All three were interred 
in the family mausoleum in the old churchyard. 

Mr. Boone, on leaving Lee, let the mansion and grounds to Benjamin 
Aislabie, Esq., on a lease for fourteen years. Mr. Aislabie was a partner 
with Mr. B. Standring, of the Minories, an eminent and old-established 
firm of wine merchants, who had the distinguished honour of supplying 
the immortal Nelson with wine, and whose successors have in their 
office at the present time a letter of Lord Nelson's own handwriting, 
thanking them for their attention to his requirements. 

Mr. Aislabie lived here many years and took an active part in the 
parochial affairs of Lee. Although a very corpulent man, being 
upwards of twenty stone weight, he was a famous fox-hunter and cricket 
player. He was overseer, with the elder Mr. Sidery, ^t the opening of 
the second St. Margaret's Church, in 1814 ; and took a lively interest 
in distributing the charities that severe winter to the poor ; he also 
placed to the use of the parish the buildings in the front yard of his 
mansion, for the storage of coals and potatoes, which were given to the 
poor during the thirteen weeks' frost ; bread was very dear at this time, 
and Lee had no poor-house. Mr. Aislabie also much improved the 
mansion and grounds, and employed many labourers during the sevei'e 
weather. 

Mrs. Aislabie was a charming and most accomplished lady, who, in 

.this rural home trained up a nice family of one son and five daughters, 

in the virtues of a well-bred country family, with domestic affection and 

Christian humility. The young ladies were educated by an accomplished 

governess, and were intelligent, pleasant, and agreeable-; indeed, the 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. , 9 

family were the admiration of the neighbourhood They also kept a 
well ordered establishment of servants. 

In the year 1822, the Churchwardens and Overseers resolved to 
walk the parish bounds, and Mr. Aislabie walked and rode the whole 
distance, fourteen miles, with ease. In the year following, his tenancy 
of Boone's Mansion expired, and his fkmily removed to Sevenoaks, 
where Mr. Aislabie died at an advanced age. 

The property was sold by auction by Messrs. Driver, on 22 nd Octo- 
ber, 1824, in ten lots, comprising about twelve acres. One lot of three 
acres was purchased by the Master and Wardens of the Merchant 
Taylors' Company, for the building of thirty almshouses ; the first stone 
of which was laid in 1826 by Thomas Bulcock Burbridge, Esq. The 
entrance to these houses is in Brandram-road, and the south range of 
buildings faces the High-road, Lee. The lawn and plantations were 
tastefully laid out by Messrs. Willmot, of the old Lewisham Nursery, 
and have always been beautifully kept by the resident gardener. William 
Faulkner, the present gardener, has improved the flower beds very much 
by bedding out geraniums and planting a variety of beautiful annuals in 
front of the shrubbery. The buildings form three sides of a square, and 
the lawn sloping southwards, towards the High-road, gives the whole a 
charming appearance. The land cost about ;^i5oo. The old Boone's 
Almshouses (built in the year 1683, ^^^ designed by Sir Christopher 
Wren, architect for Christopher Boone, of London, merchant, and 
Mary his wife) were pulied down in 1876, leaving the ancient chapeL 
Over the main doorway of this chapel there was formerly an angel 
beautifully carved in stone, but the iron supports having fallen into decay, 
it was blown down one night by a storm and broken into fragments, also 
the ancient octagon cupola and bell ; the present is the one erected in 
its place. Some members of the Boone family lie interred under the 
north window of this chapel. 

Before the new road was made in 1826, there were many accidents 
at this sharp angle of the old road with the fruit carts and vehicles that 
travelled to and from the London markets. One Wednesday, in the 
year 1813, during morning prayers in the chapel, a horse and chaise was 
driven down the road with such fury, that the horse, being unable to 
turn, burst open the door of the front entrance of the chapel and fell 
on the floor, to the astonishment of the Rector and congregation. At 
this time service was performed here during the building of the second 
St. Margaret's Church. 

In former times these ancient almspeople had the advantage of a 
fruit garden ; and on the site where the greenhouse is now, stood a wash- 
house, which was provided with a mangle ; and washing and mangling 
were done by those who had sufficient strength, and this enabled some 
of them to earn a small sum to help support their poorer relations. 

Elderberries were grown here for making wine, that being a favorite 
beverage among the poorer class in winter. The pears and apples were 
generally grown very fine, as there was a rivulet constantly running in 
the rear of the orchard which kept the trees well supplied with nourish- 
ment. 

The inmates were often visited by their wealthy neighbours inhabit- 
ing the mansions in Lee, who took much interest in providing every- 
thing the almspeople required during illness or in severe winters, in 
purchasing coals and making soup, as an addition to the annual income 
from the charity. There were at this time very few poor in Lee that 



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lO HISTORY OF LEE 

required assistance, except in hard times, such as when frozen-out in the 
severe winters that we formerly had. 

Lady Dacre was very attentive to them in a methodical manner. In 
the winter of 1807 she purchased and clothed the women with a warm 
stuff gown and short Red - riding - hood cloak and neat Quakeress 
bonnet. They wore the cloaks for some years after her death, in 1808, 
out of respect to her memory, in fact, until they were nearly turned from 
red to black in consequence of age. To the men she gave brown coats 
with large silver-gilt buttons. 

There were seven mansions in Lee at this time inhabited by wealthy 
families ; and as there were seven of these poor almspeople, each poor 
person had the privilege of calling one day weekly at each house, in 
order to receive what surplus broken victuals were left after the family's 
previous day's requirements, and which was put into a brown Welsh 
dish, left on the hall sideboard for that purpose. 

The sale of the Boone property, in 1824, cromprised twelve acres of 
meadow land, and realised ^5530. Two years after this sale the 
Merchant Taylors built the thirty new almshouses, and Dacre-street and 
Church-street were made, and houses erected for the labouring classes. 
This extensive building deprived the mansions belonging to the wealthy 
merchants of the rural scene and beautiful landscape, and changed the 
picturesque character which for ages had adorned Lee, and caused 
several of the old inhabitants to leave the parish after the expiration of 
their leases, and seek the more quiet retreats at a further distance from 
London. The old mansion was sold in lots, and when pulled down was 
found to have been built in a very substantial manner ; the principal 
girders in the roof were composed of whole trees of oak, merely the 
bark being chipped off. The interior of the principal rooms was wains- 
coted with oak and Spanish chesnut beautifully carved and polished ; in 
the entrance hall hung trophies of the chase ; and agricultural and horti- 
cultural produce, and the various implements used in the farm and 
garden, beautifully carved by Grinling Gibbons, in the early part of the 
17 th century, hung there in festoons. 

There were three famous rookeries on this estate; one on the north 
side of Dacre-street, adjoining Dacre House ; one on the island, now 
Church-street; and the other in a fine avenue of lime trees in the 
orchard in front of Pentland House, in the Old-road. The rooks re- 
mained in these trees for many years, until 1857, when most of the 
trees decayed at the root, in consequence of the deposit of marine shells 
and clay from the main sewer made through Lee in that year. The 
trees were taken down to avoid accidents, and the rooks migrated to The 
Cedars, the grounds of the late John Penn, Esq. The ancient plane 
tree mentioned by Hasted in his "Survey of Kent," 1797, is still grow- 
ing here in front of the south side of the High-road, and is to be seen 
from the terrace in front of the post office ; this tree is the only relic left 
of the original number that were growing in Lee early in the present 
century. There was a fine row of plane trees of the same description 
growing on the Boone estate, running the whole length of Brandram- 
road to Lee Church. A severe storm of thunder and lightning, in 
November, 1809, injured these trees so much, that the sap not circulating 
in them the following summer, the whole were cut down and sold for 
timber; each tree was near two yards in girth. The loss of these 
beautiful trees spoilt the effect of the fine avenue leading to the church, 
there being a row of handsome elms on the opposite side of the road. 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD II 

The land which is now St. Margaret's Churchyard, Church-terrace, 
and 2 and 4, Lee-terrace, was formerly part of the Boone estate, and 
was bought by T. Brandram, Esq., J. P., at the sale. Boone's-road and 
Royal Oak-place were bought by T. Allen Shuter, Esq. Here stood one 
of the finest oaks in the county, the trunk being four yards girth, with a 
fine clean stem, twenty feet clear of the ground before throwing out its 
main branches, indeed, it was the admiration of this part of the county. 
Sir G. B. Airey, the Astronomer Royal, often admired this noble king of 
the forest, this being his favourite walk, from the Observatory, Greenwich- 
park to Lee. The whole of these beautiful views of Lady Dacre's park 
and the Boone estate were open to the public gaze on all sides, either 
by low hawhaw fences or dwarf thorn hedges. Boone's estate was partly 
enclosed with a fine moat and island, well stocked with water fowl and 
fish. This moat was called the looking glass of Lee, and was supplied 
by a fine spring of beautifully clear water, rising from the high ground, 
now Boohe's-road. 

Before this land was built upon there was ah iron pipe that conveyed 
the water from the high ground to the front of the cottages at the rear 
of the Royal Oak inn ; this spring supplied all the cottages in Church 
and Dacre-streets, the overflow running into the head of the moat in the 
rear of the National-schools. This fine piece of water ran from here 
southwards as far as Messrs. Bloxham and Dale's shops, corner of Turner- 
road, and from thence, westwards, to the rear of the old almshouses ; a 
short branch ran farther south to the ancient plane tree, and under a 
bridge to the boat house ; the overflow ran in the rear of Woodland- 
villas into the Quaggy-river. 

The house on the south front of Boone's Mansion was formerly the 
residence of the ancient family of Bonor, who removed from Lee to 
Camden House, Chislehurst, late the residence of Eugenie, the ex-Em- 
press of the French. A few years after leaving Lee, Mr. and Mrs. Bonor 
were assassinated in their bedchamber at night, by the hand of their 
valet, who, after committing the horrible deed, was sent by the family to 
London to give information to the old Bow-street Runners. He passed 
through Lee and Lewisham, galloping on horseback, holloaing out that 
murder had been committed below. Townsend and Lavender, two of 
the most experienced detectives, were sent down to Chislehurst, and they 
soon discovered that the assassin had broken the drawing-room, windows 
from the inside of the mansion. The valet, on his return journey, got 
inebriated at the inns in the New Cross-road, and, on arriving home, the 
officers that he had given information to at once took him into custody 
on suspicion of being the murderer. He was committed to Maidstone 
on the capital charge, and was hung at Pedingden Heath, near Maid- 
stone ; afterwards his body was given up for dissection, and his skeleton 
was deposited in Dr. Scott's Museum, in the adjoining village of Brom- 
ley. This sad affair happened in May, 181 3. Mr. and Mrs. Bonor were 
great benefactors to all the charities in the neighbourhood, and fervently 
hoped that they both should be permitted to depart from this uncertain 
world together, but little thought that it would be by the hand of a do- 
mestic assassin. The inhabitants of Chislehurst erected a monument to 
their memory in the churchyard, on the left-hand entrance of the liche 
gate, to record the sad event 

The old house at Lee was sold to Mr. Hunt, the Treasurer of the 
Ordnance Department at Somerset House, who made considerable im- 
provements and additions to the buildings and grounds. After a few 



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It History of lee 

years, Mr. Hunt having appropriated to his own use some Government 
money, the estate was seized by the Ordnance Department, and sold to 
James Rice Williams, Esq., one of His Majesty's Justices of the Peace, 
and for many years Chairman of the Bench sitting at the " Green Man " 
Hotel, Blackheath. After a residence here of twenty-one years, he died 
April, 1831, aged 82. 

The family left L6e after his death, and the house and grounds were 
sold to James Young, Esq., one of the. !E^der Brethren of the Trinity 
House ; who also purchased " Lampe Meade," a little piece of land in 
the rear of his estate, the jwoceeds of which were invested in the pur- 
chase of ;^233 6s. 8d. consols, whereof the dividends are applicable 
to the repairs of the parish church, for which purpose it was bequeathed 
by William Hatcliffe, the founder of " Hatcliffe's Charity." 

After the death of Mr. Young, this estate became the property of his 
eldest son, James Halliburton Young, Esq., one of Her Majesty's Justices 
of the Peace for this division of the county, who now resides here ; and 
who purchased the adjoining property (Lee House) on the east side, the 
mansion and grounds recently in the occupation of the late W. Forbes 
Stuart, Esq. 

Mr. Young has added one of the Lee House avenues of trees to his 
paternal estate, and enclosed it with a substantial brick wall, and made 
great improvements in extending and increasing the width of his lawn 
and pleasure grounds, planting choice evergreens, deciduous and flower- 
ing shrubs; also building substantial hothouses and vineries, and planting 
them with the most approved kinds ; and in a very short space of time 
grew the finest grapes ever brought to perfection in Lee. On the centre 
of the lawn, at the rear of the house, stands one of the finest specimens 
of the cedar Lebanon that can be seen in this county ; this handsome 
and noble tree covers an immense space, and is a host in itself; it is 
also a great protection and covering for the many potted evergreens that 
can be put under it for shelter. A little further down the lawn is a fine 
specimen of the maiden-hair tree — very scarce in this county. These 
trees must have been planted in the early part of the last century, and 
are the admiration of all the visitors who have seen them. Mr. Young 
takes much interest in all gardening improvements, employing many 
tradesmen and labourers on his premises, and is most courteous in show- 
ing his visitors anything in his pleasure grounds or gardens they wish to 
see. He has, within the last few years, purchased the old kitchen garden 
in front of his house, formerly Boone's, in order to prevent buildings 
being erected, and as the owners of the other frontages on the Old-road 
to the west are covenanted not to build without the consent of each Iree- 
holder, it makes this a favorite promenade, and quite a paradise for birds 
in the summer season. There was formerly, in the past century, a house 
between Mr. Young's house and the Manor-house stables, occupied by 
Mr. Samuel Brandram before he purchased The Cedars of Miss Boyfield, 
1790. This old house was bought and pulled down by Mr. Bonor, in 
order to build the modem part of Mr. Young's residence. 

Lee House was formerly the residence of Sir Thomas Fludyer, the 
father of Lady Dacre, who was born here in the year 1755, in a noble 
old mansion that stood on the site of the present one, and which was 
very ancient, being built in the Tudor times of architecture. It was 
sold, in 1768, to Mr. Pelham, M.P., who laid out upon the property a 
considerable siim, and almost rebuilt the mansion ; the situation at that 
time had a commanding view eastwards over Lee-park, Kidbrook, and 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 1 3 

Sevemdroog Castle, Shooter's-hill, also the open country to Well Hall and 
Eltham Palace. Lee being near London, made this place of great im- 
portance to gentlemen whose business took them to the city or West- 
minster. Mr. Pelham's family lived here many years, and kept a well- 
ordered establishment in. an hospitable manner. He built one of the 
largest wine cellars in Lee, also the stables and coach houses afterwards 
pulled down to make improvements by Mr. Young. Fancy gardening 
having about this time crept in from Holland, these gardens were taste- 
fully laid out by a Dutch gardener, and well planted with choice ever- 
greens and deciduous trees, also fruit trees of the finest quality from 
Holland. The lawn was beautifully elevated above the meadows, and 
had an avenue of lofty trees on each side, some at present still remain- 
ing ; with a fine ornamental sheet of water, kept up by penstocks, in the 
centre of the grounds, which comprised twelve acres at this time. Also 
a number of statues of the ancients were placed in various parts of the 
grounds, as was more generally the custom at former times. After the 
death of Mr. Pelham, the mansion was let to Mrs. Patterson, who resided 
here up to the beginning of the present century. After her death, the 
estate was purchased by W. Morland, Esq., M.P. for Taunton, Somerset, 
and of the eminent banking firm, Morland, Ransom and Co., 56, Pall 
Mall. He lived here many years, and kept a full establishment, and 
went daily to town on business. He died at his town house, 181 5, aged 
72, and was buried at Woolwich. Madam Morland lived here many 
years after her husband's death, and died 1826. The estate afterwards 
came into the possession of their grandson. Sir Francis Bernard Morland, 
who built the present mansion in 1830. Sir Francis died, at Nettleham, 
Bucks, in 1876, aged 86. 

Many of the old houses in Lee were very small and inconvenient 
before additions were made to them, many of them partly built with 
boards and very cold in winter; some had been old farm houses centuries 
ago, when Lee was more rural, that is before this delightful village was 
inhabited by families of fortune. The old houses were either pulled 
down or additional rooms built to them. These alterations often told 
the tale of their antiquity, as many were found to have clay mixed with 
rushes, instead of plaster and brick, for partitions. Old Lee House, when 
pulled down, was found to be one of that ancient build. Also an 
old house that formerly stood on the north side, in front of the latter, 
and occupied by Mr. A. Rowland, of maccassar oil celebrity, which, on 
the new High-road being made, was purchased by Sir F. B. Morland, in 
order to build a lodge and make a front entrance to Lee House. 

The land in front of Pentland House, the property of R. Whyte, Esq., 
was the kitchen garden to Boone's old mansion. It was purchased by 
Capt. Matthew Smith, R.N., and bequeathed by him to his nephew. 
Col. B. Smith, who afterwards sold it to Col. T. Smith (no relation to 
the former gentleman). Pentland House was formerly an old red brick 
mansion, and has, in the present century, had many changes of occupants. 
Sir Thomas Baring resided here, 1808, during his father's (Sir Francis 
Baring) residence at the Manor House, adjoining. His son, F. Thornhill 
Baring, the first Lord Northbrook, as one of the West Kent Volunteers, 
was drilled here on the lawn at the rear of the mansion, where stood, a 
noble cedar Lebanon that formed a covering for the whole company of 
rifles during wet weather. After Sir Thomas Baring's tenancy, and in 
the time of the first Napoleon, when many French refugees of high re- 
pute had to seek shelter in this country, Monsieur Grammania, a fine 



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14 HISTORY OF LEE 

s^cimen of a French gentleman, established a ladies^ boarding school 
here; and, beirfg patronised l^ Lady Percival, met with great success 
with many noble families, as he taught the rudiments of the French 
language, combined with the polite manners of French society. Queen 
Caroline visited this establishment during her stay at Percival House, 
Blackheath, in 1820. 

Capt. M, Smith retiring from the Navy, in 1822, required his resi- 
dence ; but after so many years it was dilapidated, and the brick facings 
of the exterior being much weatherbeaten, he resolved to put the whole 
ijfi thorough repair. He had the whole of the brickwork stuccoed, and 
additions were made at the east end, which gave the mansion a modern 
appearance, and its gallant owner lived here some years to enjoy the 
benefit of the improvements. Admiral Sir George Martin, K.C.B., re- 
sided here some years. He was brother-in-law to the Rev. G. Lock, then 
Rector of Lee, and liberally contributed to all the parochial charities, and 
kept a good establishment of servants, and employed many of the trades- 
people. After the death of Sir George and Lady Martin, Col. Belling- 
ham J. Smith came into the possession of the mansion and grounds, 
bequeathed to him by his uncle, Capt M. Smith, as was also a fine 
collection of valuable paintings, art virtu, and family relics. He resided 
here until 1856, when his old associates being either dead or left the 
parish, he sold the whole by auction and went to live in London. CoL 
T. Smith, having bought the mansion and grounds, resided here a few 
years, and disposed of the same to the present owner, Robert Whyte, 
Esq., who has modernized the interior and improved the whole for do- 
mestic and personal convenience, so as to render it available for the 
requirements of the present age. 

Most of these old mansions had to undergo many alterations and 
additions in order to adapt them to the comfort and taste of their present 
owners. The adjoining substantial mansion, which was purchased by 
J. W. Larking, Esq., has had expended on it a considerable sum, in 
order to adapt it for domestic convenience and to make it conduce to 
the happiness of his family. 

The Manor House, Old-road, and the ancient Manor of Lee, in the 
county of Kent, was sold by Lord Sondes, in the year 1775, to ^^^ great- 
grandfather of the present ^arl Northbrook, Sir Francis Baring, Bart., 
who purchased the Manor of Lee and its two appendages called Shroe- 
fields and Bankers. 

As early as the reign of Edward I. the old Manor House was the 
residence of an ancient family called Bankwell, written in the Bishop of 
Rochester's register " Banquelle." The present substantial Manor House 
was built by a famous Dr. Lucas, about the year 1777, whose widow re- 
sided here some years after his death. Afterwards Sir Francis Baring 
purchased the Manor of Lee, and resided in the mansion until his death, 
in the year 1809, when it descended to his son, Sir Thomas Baring, Bart., 
who, after a few years, let the mansion and grounds to Frederick Perkins, 
Esq., the opulent brewer, of the Southwark-brewery, on a twenty-one 
years' lease. After the expiration of the lease it was occupied by Sir 
Francis Thornhill Baring, Bart., First Lord of the Admiralty, and grand- 
son of Sir Francis; and afterwards by many other persons of note. H. 
Wolffram, Esq., is the present occupier. 

The Manor extends from Lee Green southwards to the parish of 
Bromley. Burnt Ash-lane separates the Crown Manor from the Manor 
of Lee and the Crown property. 



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AND ITS NrElGHBOURHOOD. IS 

The origin of "Burnt-ash," was in consequence of the felling 6f 
timber formerly grown in the woods, the loppings and roots of which 
were burnt for the manufacture of charcoal for sale in London. 

Burnt Ash Farm contained many acres of woodland. In the year 
1823, Mr. William Wiggins, farmer, grubbed up the woods near wher^ 
St Mildred's Church now stands, and burnt charcoal. 

The estate is bounded on the west side by the parish of Lewisham. 
The boundary of Lee and Lewisham is marked by a small bourne or 
rivulet that joins the Quaggy river, which, at times, rises to ten or twelve 
feet in height, and is very dangerous to persons living in the lower part 
of Lee High-road and Lee-bridge. In the year of the great frost, 
18 1 3-14, snow remained on the land one-and-a-half feet deep for thirteeri 
weeks ; a sudden thaw came and a large quantity of ice blocked up the 
Quaggy at each of the bridges built over, the river and caused the road 
to be impassable. The inhabitants had to remove to the upper floors 
of their houses, with their fowls and pigs ; the boats from Manor House 
and Lee Grove conveyed provisions knd the necessaries of life for teili 
days to keep them from starvation ; and the lower part of the house on 
the right-hand side of Lee-bridge was washed away by the force of 
water to the opposite side, into Lewisham-road, and the occupants nar- 
rowly escaped being drowned, as it happened in the early morning. 

Weardale-road and Manor-park bounds the west side of the property, 
excluding The Firs, a large house, built of red brick, with one front 
facing the Old-road, towards the east, and another, westwards, over- 
looking Manor-park and Hither-green ; now the property of J. Wing- 
field Larking, Esq,, one of the Magistrates for the county of Kent, and 
representative of the Viceroy of Egypt in England 

This seat was for many years the residence of the ancient family of 
Pampillion. David Pampillion, Esq., died here in 1806, at a very ad- 
vanced age ; after his death it was sold to Christopher Godmond, Esq., 
an eminent solicitor, of London, who resided here until the death of his 
wife. Afterwards it was in the occupation of Sir Edward Paget, who 
had returned from the Peninsular War. It was afterwards purchased, at 
the expiration of a short lease granted to E. Lankester, Esq. (son-in-law 
of Matthias Prime Lucas, of Dacre House, late Lord Mayor of London,) 
by Joseph Sladen, Esq., of the eminent firm of proctors, Sladen, Glennie 
and Co., Doctors' Commons, who lived in the mansion many years, and 
made some extensive improvements. He was hospitable at home, also 
charitable to the poor of Lee; he died 3rd August, 1855, aged .80, and 
was buried in the family vault, in the north-west corner of the old 
churchyard The full text of the "Sladen Trusts," the dividends of 
which are applied to certain pious and charitable purposes, is given 
hereafter. 

The house on the opposite side of Manor-lane was purchased by 
Joseph Sladen, Esq., in order to make improvements on that side of 
his estate. It was formerly the old Manor Farm ; and in the rear were 
very extensive farm buildings, let by Sir Thomas Baring to Mr. Thomas 
Postans for many years. The whole of the buildings were purchased 
and taken down for the above purpose, except the farm house, which 
was converted into a more comfortable residence, and afterwards occu- 
pied by Lady Pallisear, widow of Sir Hugh Pallisear, late governor of 
Greenwich Hospital After her decease it was leased to Miss Hart, for 
a preparatory school for young gentlemen of the upper-class families. 
In the year 1863 the lease was purchased for the remainder of the term 



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t6 HISTORY OF LEB 

by Colonel Smith, then owner of the house adjoining ; it is now the 
property of J. W. Larking, Esq. Manor-lane divides this property for a 
sh()rt distance from Lord Northbrook's, and extends nearly one mile 
sj'ith wards to the land now let for building. On the left-hand at the 
eairaiice of this lane are the spacious walled-in kitchen gardens. The 
wails were built for Sir Francis Baring, about 1800, and a choice collec- 
tion of fruit trees, many from France and Holland, were planted under 
the management of a practical gardener. The collection of fruit in 
these gardens was accounted one of the best on this side of London. 
It is now converted into the Manor Nursery, with the few remaining hot- 
houses and forcing pits. The whole of them, including the outside slips, 
contains about three acres, which .were leased to Mr. W« North, in 1878. 

After Mr. Postans retired from Manor Farm in 181 6, it was let to 
Mr. R. E. Brown on a twenty-one years' lease. Mr. Postans had the 
management of the Manor gardens, in 1830, for a few years, in order to 
supply the officers' mess at St. James's Palace. He was steward of the 
mess in the year 1825, and the citam-colour ponies of King George IV. 
were often sent to Lee for the conveyance of the fruit to the palace. 
At the expiration of Mr. Brown's lease, Mr. Postans again held the farm 
under Sir Thomas Baring. In 1845, Mr. Mark Cord well, father of the 
present tenant, became the occupier. The acreage of this part of the 
estate in Lee parish is upwards of 500 acres. 

Formerly there was a Manor-pound, which stood about sixty yards 
from the entrance to Burnt Ash-lane, on the east side, where all stray 
cattle was impounded. A bailiff was chosen at the Court Lept or Baron, 
charged by the steward to collect the annual perquisites and profits oif 
the said manor. In addition there was also chosen an ale-conner, 
whose duty it was to taste the ale ; also a hogwarden, whose duty was to 
see that all hogs were duly provided with rings, in order that they should 
not plough up the meadows in the acorn season. The Court Leet, 
though rarely kept, was held in 1800 ; after that time it was allowed to 
fall into abeyance for 40 years. The last Court Leet for which the jurors 
were summoned was held in 1841 ; since that time it has become 
obsolete, as persons refused to pay after it had been suffered to go in 
arrear for so many years. The quit rents for waste lands belonging to 
the Lord of the Manor of Lee amounted to ;^4o per annum. Since 
that date there have been many pieces of waste land taken into some 
of the various estates at Lee. In 1798, about 150 yards from the pound, 
further up Burnt Ash-lane, on the west side, stood a dog kennel ; and 
near it a well of good water, to supply the cottages that formerly stood in 
the lane for the use of the labourers of Farmers Giles and Morris, who 
rented, most of the land, in Lee and Eltham. 




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CHAPTER II. 

Dacre House — ^The Fludyer Family — Lady Dacre — Mr. Roper — Successive Occupiers 
of Dacre Estate — Robbers — The Cedars Estate — Additions by Mr. Brandram — 
Public Improvements, Belmont Hill — Terrington's Cottage — Diverting Love Lane 
— Gipsies' Encampment — Enclosing Open Spaces — Mr. Brandram and the new 
Church — Purchase of The Cedars by Mr. Penn — Improvements and Additions — 
Alteration of Road — The fine Elm Trees — Views of Mansion and Grounds — 
Kitchen Garden — Shooter's Hill — Sevemdroog Castle — Wricklemarsh House — 
Morden College — Eltham Palace and Parks — Hamlet of Mottingham — Clajrpit 
Farm — Grove Park. 

E now take our readers to two other important estates in the 
parish of Lee ; namely, Dacre House and The Cedars estates, 
both lying north of the High-road, and very near to the Parish 
Church. In both these estates we shall find that the changes have been 
as great as any we have mentioned in the previous chapter. 

Sir Samuel Fludyer died at Dacre House, January, 1768, aged 63, 
and he bequeathed the estate to his brother. Sir Thomas Fludyer, who 
at that time resided in Lee House. Sir Samuel was twice Lord Mayor 
of London, and was created Baronet in 1759. He was buried in the 
old churchyard, and an elegant monument was erected by the family, 
near the old Rectory. 

Sir Thomas Fludyer died the following year, March, 1769, aged 57. 
He left the estate to his only daughter, Mary, who, in 1773, married 
Trevor Charles Roper, Esq., on which he became possessed of this 
estate ; he was the eldest son of the Hon. George Roper, the son of 
Lord Teynham, by his second wife, Ann, daughter and co-heiress of 
Thomas Lennard Earl of Sussex and Baroness Dacre, whose second 
husband he was. Her first husband was Thomas Lennard Barret, Esq., 
by whom she had a son, the late Thomas Lennard Barret, Lord Dacre, 
on whose death, s,p. in 1786, Trevor Charles Roper, Esq., above men- 
tioned, succeeded to that title and became Baron Dacre. 

On his death, at this seat, in July, 1794, aged 49, he left it to his 
widow. Baroness IDacre, who lived here in a hospitable and charitable 
manner. She erected a very handsome monument, composed of 
beautiful white marble, with a large urn encircled and the figure of a 
serpent on the top. Lady Dacre paid great attention to this tomb of 
her deceased lord by frequently visiting it. His lordship, at his decease, 
left ;^4o per annum to a male servant, who used to be seen on a Saturday 
washing and cleansing it, during her ladyship's lifetime; and at her death 
she left the said servant ;£^3o per annum, in addition to the ;^4o left by 
her lamented husband, but no attention appears now to be paid to his 
noble benefactor's and benefactress's monument. 

Lady Dacre, during her widowhood of fourteen years, showed an extra- 
ordinary instance of conjugal love and affection by offering up a prayer 
in the churchyard alone, every evening during fair weather, until a 
highway robber demanded her gold watch and chain, which she very 
reluctantly gave him. 

2 



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l8 ttlSfORY or LEE 

These robberies were often committed, sometimes even in noonday. 
On one occasion a lady and gentleman was attacked in a chaise, near 
where is now the private entrance to the Rectory garden, in Lee Terrace, 
by a highwayman, and robbed of their watches and appendages ; but 
the gentleman having a tolerably good horse gave chase, and the man 
was captured, and afterwards suffered the extreme penalty of the law. 

After the Baroness was robbed she had one of her domestics to 
follow her at a short distance to the churchyard. She died at her seat 
here, on the nth September, 1808, aged 53, and lies buried with her 
husband. A large number of the parishioners flocked from Dacre 
House to the churchyard to pay their last mournful tribute of respect to 
the memory of a lady who, for such a number of years, had been so 
charitable to the poor. The estate then became the property of Charles 
Trevor Roper, a member of the late Baroness's family. 

Dacre House had a handsome brick front, facing west, and over- 
looking the road to Lewisham ; on the north were extensive pleasure 
grounds, in groves and shrubberies, extending to the kitchen garden, 
which was enclosed with lofty fruit walls, and adjoined the road east of 
the old church. There was a remarkably fine billiard room in the 
pleasure grounds, and a fine collection of plants in the hothouse and 
greenhouses. 

Her ladyship was very methodical in adapting each day to its 
purpose : in gardening and other pursuits in her wealthy establishment ; 
in dispensing charity, and other noble deeds. She employed many 
labourers in the gardens and on her farm, which was in front of the 
mansion. Many tradesmen were employed in various ways on different 
parts of the estate, who were supervised by her ladyship's steward, Mr. 
James Lawman, who lived on the farm many years after her death, and 
managed the estate for Mr. Roper. 

Mr. Roper was Colonel of the West Kent Volunteers, and took 
much interest in their drills, which were generally on his spacious lawn. 
He kept up the mansion and grounds for a few years after the death of 
the Baroness, but eventually retired into Wales. He let the estate on 
lease to Matthias Prime Lucas, Esq., who was afterwards Lord Mayor 
of London. 

Mr. Lucas cultivated the farm with success, the land of which lay on 
the south-west slope of the hill in front of Brandram-road to the High- 
road. At this time early peas were grown here for market ; also excellent 
crops of both red and white wheat, which was sold in market in those 
times at a high price. 

Mr. Lucas, retiring from his business in London, purchased a farm 
near to that of his son-in-law, at Wateringbury, in Kent, where he lived 
to an advanced age, and was often seen by travellers on the railway, 
which passed through his estate, to be a veritable patriarch, surrounded 
by his family. 

Dacre House was afterwards let on lease to Thomas Allan Shuter, 
Esq., for the term of fourteen years, who bought that part of the mansion 
and pleasure grounds belonging to the Dacre family, of Trevor Blaney 
Roper, then residing at Plas Tag, Flintshire. Mr. Shuter lived here with 
his family of sons and daughters in the enjoyment of the mansion and 
farm. Mrs. Shuter, a daughter of Dr. Valpy, was a lady of agreeable 
manners, and trained up her family with domestic affection ; Mr. Shuter 
took much interest in public affairs, especially at elections on behalf of 
Conservative candidates for this county. After the expiration of his 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 19 

lease, he sold the interest of what he had in this estate, and Dacre 
House was let for a short term to Richard Bousfield, Esq., who was 
Churchwarden, with Benjamin Crichton, Esq., of St. Margaret's Church. 

The estate after. this was cut up and sold for building purposes. 
Dacre House had a beautiful view from the east, over the open country, 
to the Old Palace, at Eltham, and the Chislehurst Windmill, on the 
Common, also to Shooter's Hill and Severndroog Castle. 

A great cause of anxiety and fear in these times to all peaceable 
people, was the fact that many robbers and highwaymen used to commit 
violence upon travellers from London and Dover, lying in wait for them 
in the woods and bye roads from Eltham and Woolwich, near Severn- 
droog Castle, and even attacking them at noon day. Two of these 
most notorious robbers, named Russell and Webb, who resided at Black- 
heath, were taken here early in this century, and, as they had committed 
several robberies, both in mansions and on the highways of the neighbour- 
ing villages, an example was made by carrying the law into effect, and 
they were hung by the side of the road at Shooter's-hill, near where now 
stands the Police Station, and were buried there at the cross roads — ^the 
custom in those days. After seventy years' interment their bones were 
discovered in excavating for the foundation of the Police Station. One 
of these men confessed that he entered a mansion at Chislehurst, early 
on a summer evening, and concealed himself under a sofa in the draw- 
ing-room during the family's presence, and a small spaniel dog of the 
Marlborough breed several times licked his face during his conceal- 
ment. These and other notorious robbers kept the whole country in a 
state of terror and fear of their predatory visits after dusk ; and most 
houses adopted the plan of having shutters lined with iron, and cross 
' bars and bolts ; in fact, every repressive measure was resorted to in 
order that every household should be prepared to confront these unwel- 
come visitors. Notice boards were to be seen near the principal 
mansions, warning persons of the penalty for trespassing ; and also the 
one seldom seen now, " Man traps and spring guns set here," and to 
verify the same a man trap was often to be seen swinging on the side of 
the notice board. Spring guns were set in the open nursery grounds, 
between Lee and the lane leading from Hither Green, Lewisham, as late- 
as 1855, in order to protect the crops. 

The old mansion of The Cedars, formerly known as Lee Grove, was 
inhabited by an ancient family of the name of Boyfield, who sold the 
same in 1790 to Mr. Samuel Brandram. The name Lee Grove was de- 
rived from a beautiful grove of elm trees that adorned the old house the 
whole way across the field in front to the south hedge. The old build- 
ing was a small residence compared with the present mansion. Many 
additions were made by Mr. Brandram, who built the new dining-room, 
converted the two principal rooms of the old house into a withdrawing 
room, and built a billiard room adjoining. Most of the old mansions 
had farm buildings and land attached, and this was the case here. Mr. 
Brandram had to purchase the land piecemeal of small owners, in order 
to convert the same into park-like grounds. He laid out a considerable 
sum in improving the mansion and pleasure grounds, also in planting 
shrubberies and forming the beautiful lake. The cedars Lebanon were 
planted in the early part of the last century by the Boyfield . family, and 
are now considered some of the finest specimens of that venerable tree 
near London, 



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20 HISTORY OF LEE 

The road in front of the mansion has been altered from its former 
position three different times. First, by Mr. Samuel Brandram, in 1808, 
from close to the front of the old house to the hollow in the front lawn ; 
afterwards, in 1825, from the lodge to Moray Villa, top of Belmont-hill; 
this road formed a complete triangle across the front field from the east 
to the south-west corner, from thence to the site of Moray Villa. From 
this point Belmont-hill was lowered eight feet in front of Belmont House, 
since built by Mr. G. L. Taylor, the Government Surveyor, in 1830. 
This lowering of the hill was a grand improvement for the public and 
the neighbourhood, for the old road was so dark and narrow that few 
persons would travel it after dusk, and there were no houses but The 
Cedars and Rectory from Lee Bridge to Park-place, Cresswell-hiD, at 
this time (1825). It had always been a narrow country lane with 
scarcely room for two carriages to pass each other, except at spaces left 
for that purpose. 

The view from the south front of The Cedars, at this date, was 
charming, it being over the open country to Sydenham and Norwood 
hills, the Knockholt Beeches, Eltham Palace, and the windmill on 
Chislehurst-common. The land southwards was farm and nursery 
grounds, as far as Bromley parish ; the field in front of the old mansion 
is mentioned in the old records by the name of Ferney Field, on ac- 
count of the quantity of ferns growing there in their wild state. The 
field on the north side, now Belmont-grove, was named after the farmer, 
Holt's Field. The land in the rear of the old churchyard, the Eighteen- 
Acre Field. 

Red bricks were made here a century ago, the sub-soil being 
excellent for that purpose. 

The old footpath leading from Lady Dacre's arch, in Church-terrace, 
crossed the right angle of the field where the present church is erected, 
over a step stile into the old churchyard, round the left of the old tower ; 
from thence through- the right angle of The Cedars' orchard to the 
bridge over the railway. Love-lane, where stood the little " Cottage of 
Content," occupied by Mr. Robert Terrington, dairyman. 

Before the railway was made, in 1845, this was a charming retreat, 
this vale of beauty, to see the garden well stocked with apples, pears, 
cherries, and strawberries, and other kinds of fruit in its season. Here 
the poet told his tale of contemplation of blithe domestic comfort en- 
circling this rural wooden cottage : — 



* The joyous children told their mirthful task, 
And stra3ring from home, the whole surrounding troop 
In loose array, could scarce with urgent shouts, 
Amid the trees and brambled paths constrain 
Her pleasing charge. A tender slip of vine 
And ruddy plum already spread their leaves 
Around the lattice, o'er an arboured seat : 
Her chief delight, she taught the twining bean 
To wind its scarlet bloom around an arch 
Of twisted willows ; bade the woodbine creep 
With the rose-blossomed briar ; while, below. 
The saffron nasturtium the rich sides skirted. 
Mixed with peas' bright purple. There she'd sit 
With mild attention to her needle's toil, 
While her fond mind indulged in wandering thoughts 
Upon her fears, anxieties, and hopes." — Tuos, Noble. 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 21 

Mr. Terrington lived in this cottage many years, and brought up a 
family of ten children, and led an industrious and contented life. The 
cottage was removed for the North Kent Railway. 

Mr. Brandram made application to the Bench of Magistrates for this 
division of the county to divert the ancient footpath to a straight line 
drawn from the arches to the old bridge in Love-lane, offering a slip of 
land on the east side of the estate for the good of the parish in exchange 
for the old footpath; and after the notices had been given to all parties 
concerned and the formalities of law gone through, the County Magis- 
trates consented, for the new footway was a much shorter distance, and 
more direct to part of Blackheath and Greenwich than the former 
route. 

After the diversion of this thoroughfare from the grounds, in 1808, 
Mr. Brandram made several improvements, such as removing the old 
farm buildings from the west side of the mansion, and building new 
coach houses, stables, and farm buildings next to Love-lane, and fronting 
the main road. This made the estate more private and compact. To 
lay out and make the land convertible on the north side of the lake 
there was a deal of trouble ; this land was partly a herb garden, similar 
to those at Mitcham, in Surrey. Here were grown lavender, mint, and 
rosemary for distillation, hence the name mentioned in the old title 
deeds Rosemary Field and Rosemary Cottage (the small one at the top 
of Love-lane, built in the last century). The other cottage, partly Tudor 
architecture, was built by Mr. Thos. Brandram, in 1813, and during fifty- 
eight years and upwards there resided here a venerable and respected 
lady, Mrs. Frances Burford, who , domiciliated long in this healthy 
locality, until four score and ten years had passed away, when she de- 
parted this life in peace, honoured and respected by her neighbours and 
friends. 

These cottages and a slip of meadow running parallel with Love-lane, 
containing about three -and -a -half acres, were taken on lease from the 
Earl St Germans. The Rosemary Field was about eleven -and -a- half 
acres ; Mr. Brandram purchased the freehold of the Duke of Buccleuch 
and others. 

On the north end of this field was the fruit and kitchen garden 
belonging to Montague House, the house with a round conical tower, 
covered with ivy, at the corner of Greenwich -park, the residence 
of the Princess of Wales, in 1808, then a charming object from all 
parts of Blackheath- This beautiful old residence was ruthlessly pulled 
down, but Montague-corner retains its title at the present time. There 
was formerly an open space at the end of this garden wall, next Love- 
lane, extending to the old five-barred gate that gave entrance to Rose- 
mary Field ; also a blind lane between the holly hedge and the garden 
wall, the exit of which was in Granville-park, at the end of Aberdeen- 
terrace. Here stood a small cottage, close under the hill, occupied by 
an industrious old couple, Mr. and Mrs. Morris, who, for a living, sold 
vegetables from their little garden. 

The open space just mentioned was a harbour and rendezvous for 
the gipsies that infested this locality, as was also the ground close to 
the Pagoda Summer House, erected by the Duke of Buccleuch, Captain 
General of the Royal Company of Archers, the King's Body Guard of 
Scotland. 

Hothouse grapes were grown here very fine, and the gardens were the 

2—2 



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a HISTQRY OF LEE 

resort of H.R.H. the Princess of Wales, to whom, by permission, the 
poet Noble dedicated the following canto : — 

" Near Fair Villa Rise, there where the hill 
Descends abrupt, gay gardens to the sun 
Offer their cultured fragrance, and his beams 
Court with Hesperian fruits and Indian shrubs : 
The cool annanas ; the rich orange grove ; 
The rose of Candia, and such myrtle boughs 
As might have shaded the CastaUan fount. 
And crowned Anaceron when he sang of love ; 
There the pavilion, with fantastic roof. 
Reflects the glistening sunbeams, while around 
Young v^etation lifts his verdant brows. 
And in a thousand forms obeys the call 
Of g«ual warmth : a beauteous Princess here 
Receives the earliest offerings of the spring." 

CANTO II.— THE GIPSIES' CAMP, ELIOT VALE, 1804, 

** Here the wizard gipsies and their bantling crew 
Huddle together through the stormy night. 
Heedless of ill, their stolen feast enjoy ; 
.And slumber sound,, tho' loud the rattling blast 
Beat on their canvas awning, and the elms. 
Whose fibrous roots creep thick across their cave. 
Creak fearful, as they rock above their heads. 
And bend their stems, with deeper foliage spreads." — 

Thos. Noble. 

After the purchase of Rosemary Field, and the passing of the En- 
closure Act, the open space at the east end of Haddo-villas was enclqg ed, 
by paying herbage rent of 12s. per annum to the Lord of the Manor of 
Lewisham, in order to prevent the nuisance and depredations committed 
by the gipsies and other persons of low character. The site of the 
lower cottage was formerly a gravel pit, with some old buildings and 
sheds, the whole of which were pulled down, and the pit filled in and 
the groimds well laid out by Mr. David Stewart, land surveyor, who 
planted the shrubberies and formed the beautiful lake. The cottage 
was designed by Joseph Gwilt, Esq., architect, and built by Mr. William 
Sidery, senr., 181 3. The small cottage was built previous, and first 
occupied by Mr. A. Doull, afterwards by Mr. and Mrs. Burford, before 
their removal to the villa that was built in 1813 ; after Mr. Burford left 
the small cottage, Miss Streatfield occupied it thirty years. Before the 
one recently erected there was formerly a summer house, on the knoll 
near the cedar tree, which was taken down to complete the improve- 
ments. 

After Mr. Thomas Brandram had completed the improvements in 
his estate, he lived to enjoy the benefit of the outlay for many years 
after the death of his father, Mr. Samuel Brandram. He was one of 
Her Majesty's Justices of the Peace for the Blackheath division of the 
county of Kent, and filled many important offices with unabated zeal for 
many years for the public, by which the interest and comfort of all those 
that resided around him could be promoted for their good. He was 
senior churchwarden of Lee, and with his colleague, Christopher God- 
mond, Esq., laid the foundation stone of the beautiful little church, on 
the 15th September, 181 3, which church stood for the short space of 
twenty-seven years, being pulled down in May, 1841, in consequence of 
defective foundations, and the want of increased church accommodation 
for the inhabitants, who were daily increasing in the parish. 



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And Its NEIGHBOURHOOD. 23 

Mr. Brandram was appointed treasurer to the Church Committee 
^nder the local Act, i and 2 Vic, passed 4th July, 1838, for the building 
of the present church of St. Margaret, the first stone of which was laid 
by Sir Thomas Baring, Bart., on the 17th July, 1838. The treasurer 
took an active part in the erection of this church, and gave a donation 
of ;£^5oo to the building fund, also land in addition. He superintended 
with the utmost zeal and perseverance until the whole work was com- 
pleted, and consecrated, nth March, 1841. After having borne the 
toil and burden of the day, the parishioners at large recorded their 
seiise of his services to the parish for so many years, by the presentation 
of a silver inkstand, surmounted with a model of St Margaret's Church. 
He lived for many years after this event, and exerted himself in full 
vigour as a neighbour and friend, an office-bearer and Magistrate, in all for 
upwards of half-a-century. After a gratifying recollection of his past 
services to this parish, in the evening of his life, at the ripe old age of 
78, he departed this life on the ist October, 1855, and was buried in a 
vault near the north-west door of St. Margaret's Church, honoured and 
followed by a troop of friends, and also by the poor and labouring classes 
of the village. 

Mr. Brandram died a bachelor, and left by will the real and personal 
estate to his nephews and nieces. 

During his lifetime, after the death of his father, he kept his promise 
to his parents honourably, as a filial duty to all the younger members of 
the family, he made Lee Grove their home, and lived in a hospitable 
and charitable manner ; he employed many labourers during the winter 
season of the year, and entertained many friends and old acquaintances. 
After his death the household, furniture and effects were sold by public 
auction, by Mr. Marsh. The freehold mansion and grounds were pur- 
chased by private contract, by John Penn, Esq., C.E., of Greenwich, 
who changed the name to The Cedars, there being a confusion of Lee 
Groves in Lee. The purchase of this valuable estate of The Cedars by 
Mr. Penn, whose generous character made him interested in everything 
which affected the welfare of the parish, was the mainspring in the pre- 
servation ot the lungs in the neighbourhood of Lee and Blackheath. 

Mr. Brandram had matured plans, some years before his death, for 
letting the whole estate of fifty acres for building villas, etc., and the 
estate being midway between Blackheath and Lewisham stations, the 
land was very much in request by the builders of the neighbourhood ; a 
part was let, at the time of sale, and Belmont-grove built, also the two 
lodges, and a road formed in the rear of the mansion, on the south side 
of the North Kent Railway. 

After Mr. Penn had completed the purchase of The Cedars, in 1856, 
he laid out a considerable sum in the improvement of the mansion and 
grounds. The whole was re-modelled and put in proper order and 
repair. Many additions had been made at various times to the centre 
of the mansion, and some of the rooms in the oldest part were so small 
and low pitched, that the whole was new roofed and modernized in its 
arrangements. The dining room was the only part left in its original 
form ; the old drawing room was converted into an excellent library and 
study ; and a charming new drawing room was added to the east end of 
the old building, with a beautiful conservatory. A great improvement 
was made in the reconstruction of the main entrance hall and the corri- 
dors ; also the domestic offices were made agreeable to all the other 
modern improvements. The whole work was carried out by Mr. John 



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24 HISTORY OF LEfi 

Thomas, architect ; Messrs. J. G. Grace and Son, the noted decorators^ 
of Gavendish-square ; and Messrs. Wardle and Baker, builders, of 
Westminster. After the mansion was completed many alterations and 
improvements had to be made, in forming the pleasure grounds and 
shrubberies, under the direction of Mr. R. Milner, the landscape 
gardener, of Dulwich-wood. 

Mr. Penn made application to the Plumstead Poard of Works, also 
to the local Magistrates, to divert the old narrow road in front, that was 
so dangerous to the increasing traffic from Blackheath to Lewisham, for 
a road thirty feet wide, in order to preserve the stately elm trees so much 
admired by Napoleon III., the late Emperor, and Eugenie, the Empress 
of the French, on the occasion of their visit to The Gedars, in June, 
1872, and to the Horticultural Exhibition of Fruit and Flowers. The 
remark that the Emperor made in reference t- » these elms on that occasion 
was to this effect : " We never have seen such fine specimens in the 
whole of France as we see now of this n- )ble tree. There they are 
hewn down before they come to one-third of this maturity, and con- 
signed to the timber depot for sale." This beautiful row of elms formerly 
extended on the side of the road to Lee-park, until the building of Lee- 
grove and Lee-terrace commenced. The lane was so very narrow that 
only one vehicle could travel with safety until the trees were hewn down, 
to the great dismay of the old inhabitants. This happened about 1826, 
when there was only the Rectory and The Gedars between Lee-bridge 
and Park-place. Afterwards buildings were daily increasing, and in 
order to save the few remaining trees from the woodman's stroke, Mr. 
F. F. Thorne, the surveyor of highways, prepared an elaborate plan, 
showing by a very easy curve from east t(j west, radius about twelve yards 
in the centre from the old road (which was less than twenty feet wide), 
how the desired object could be accomplished, and an advantage to 
the neighbourhood obtained by having a roadway ten feet wider 
and a footpath open to the southern sun. Due notice of the pro- 
posed alteration was posted up at each end of the road, and also given 
to the Magistrates of this division, assembled in petty sessions at Black- 
heatb, who, after inspecting the plan and viewing the spot gave their 
unanimous approval ; also the same was obtained from the Plumstead 
Board of Works, and the plan was referred to the county Magistrates, 
assembled at quarter sessions at Maidstone, to confirm. After all the 
formalities of law had been duly observed, the plaii was adopted and 
brought to a successful issue, a contract was ei ^ered into by Mr. 
Goodison, of Lewisham, to complete the whole and keep in order for 
twelve months, agreeable to the terms of the Highway Act, for the 
parish authorities to adopt, which was duly carried out to the entire 
satisfaction of the whole Board, and the road opened by the Rev. G. 
Lock, the churchwardens and overseers, and the members of the Lee 
Board of Works, on Saturday, July 8th, 1859. After this the old road 
was transferred to Mr. Penn, and the main entrance lodge built, also 
those elegant iron gates of exquisite workmanship, by Mr. Marriott, of 
London, were erected, supported by stone piers, and paved entrance of 
Scotch granite, and the coach road formed, with an easy curve to the 
mansion, which overlooks a beautiful undulating lawn, bounded by 
shrubberies and dotted with evergreens of the choices sorts of cypresses 
and cedar deodorus. 

The mansion is scarcely seen until we turn a belt of trees and find 
it close at hand j and the approach at once reveals the beauties to be 



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AND Its NEIGHBOURHOOD. 25 

s^eii beyond. In the front is a border of the finest collection of rhodo- 
dendrons, with the clematis, Virginian creeper and jasamine overhanging 
the windows in rustic form ; and the venerable cedar Lebanon near the 
conservatory, at the top of the lawn. Here was formerly the old Rectory 
and its garden, purchased by Mr. Penn, and pulled down in 1866, after 
having stood there upwards of 230 years. Here, too, is one of the 
finest specimens of the ilex or evergreen oak that can be seen in this 
county, supposed to have been planted in 1640; great care used to be 
taken during the severe winters of 18 13 -14 to preserve it from frost. 
Mr. Penn had great resi)ect for old associations in trees ; most of the 
evergreen shrubs .in the Rectory garden were taken up with care and 
replanted in front of the old churchyard wall, with the addition of some 
choice sorts of rhododendrons and deciduous flowering shrubs, which 
were transplanted in the month of May, 1866, and forms a lasting relic 
of the ancient Rectory grounds, also a testimony of respect and regard 
to the Rev. G. Lock, a faithful minister, who occupied the Rectory 
sixty-one years, and died there. This lawn, with its undulated borders 
and clumps of azaleas and rhododendrons and other flowering plants, 
also the roseary in glorious profusion, all make up a delightful combina- 
tion with the surroundings. We now l(X)k northward over the railway 
at the head of the dell, towards Blackheath, with the hanging hill and 
shrubberies on each side of the charming steep slope, beautifully dotted 
with trees, and a fine plantation of the pinus Austriaca and excelsa of 
the Himalayas, also the fine old holly and whitethorn bushes, which 
for many years have wafted their delicious fragrance up this charming 
valley. At the bottom of the slope is the beautiful lake. Well may 
the poet have composed the following upon such a spot, previous to the 
railway severing the northern slope from the mansion : — 

" Where Lee Grove shews thy viUa fair, 
*Twas'mine the tranquil hour to share, 

The social hour to converse free ; 
To mark the arrangement of thy ground, 
- And all the pleasing prospect round, 

Where, while we gazed, new beauties still we found 
There ; as the impending cloud of smoke 

Fled various from the varying gale, 
Full on the view fresh objects broke * . , 

Along the extensive flowery vale. 
Beside the wide and bending stream, 
The setting sun glittering the evening beam, 

Or sought the southern landscape's bound, 
That swelling mount, so smooth and green, 

Or one with oaken trees encrown'd." 

John Scott. 

In order to have the whole of the estate freehold, Mr. Penn pur- 
chased from the Earl of St. Germans, the only small piece of leasehold 
he held, about three-and-a-half acres, including the two cottages and 
shrubbery on the top of Love-lane, Eliot-vale. After this Mr. Penn 
found it necessary to put a new ring fence round the whole estate, which 
is upwards of a mile in circumference. The old fence was open palings, 
which were fast falling into decay, and as buildings were being erected 
on all sides, it was absolutely necessary to erect a substantial oak fence 
instead. The former kitchen garden being partly demolished by the 
North Kent Railway, during Mr. Brandram's occupation, in 1856 it 
became necessary to substitute one near the farm buildings. For this 
purpose Mr. Penn purchased a small meadow on the east side of Love- 



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26 HISTORY OF' LEfi 

lane, in the rear of Grove-place, of Messrs. Walker, an old family^ 
at one time proprietors of the Green Man Assembly Rooms, Black- 
heath-hill; it was about two-and-a-half acres in extent Very soon 
substantial hothouses and vineries were built, pit and framing ground 
formed, and the whole trenched and planted with fruit trees of various 
descriptions. When this was completed and the fences erected, un- 
dulating banks were formed and shrubberies planted on various parts of 
the lawn ; on the west side a large clump of the choicest collection of 
fhododendrons, from Waterer^s Bagshot Nursery ; also English and Irish 
ivy were planted at the base of the noble elms and cedars. 

During the time these alterations and improvements were in progress 
Mr. Penn was busily engaged in providing marine steam engines for the 
Government, during the Crimean War, when no less than 121 vessels 
were fitted with engines by the firm, 

Mr, Fenn married in the year 1846, Ellen, daughter of William 
English, Esq., of Enfield, and had issue four sons and two daughters. 
During the time of Mr. Penn's engagements and close application to 
business, more especially during the Crimean War, the care of his family 
was attended to by Mrs. Penn, who provided everything necessary for 
their education and amusement in a very Uberal manner, with a full 
establishment of servants to attend to their personal comfort. 

The late Mr. Penn was naturally endowed with an ability to grasp 
the technicalities of the most intricate machinery ; and his world-wide 
reputation as a skilful engineer needs no addition of ours. From his 
youth he devoted himself and his talents to his Queen and country, and 
to the benefit of mankind. He retired from business in 1875, ^^d passed 
his latter days contributing to the preservation and happiness of those 
around him, by the continued exertion of his faculties until his deaths 
23rd September, 1878, aged 72 years. ' He was buried on the Saturday 
following, in a vault by the side of his father, in the new churchyard 
of St. Margaret's, Lee, and was followed by 1000 of the workmen em- 
ployed, also all the servants and workmen on the estate at Lee, and 
by about 100 gentlemen, amongst whom were several engineers of 
repute, and many personal friends who Mr. Penn had entertained for 
many years past as old associates, in a hospitable manner, at The 
Cedars. 

This hospitality to friends and open-handed liberality to the poor is 
continued by Mrs. Penn and the whole family ; and any good work in 
the parish and neighbourhood is sure to find in them warm supporters, 
both in giving their time and substance. 

In 1872, the two elder sons, Mr. John Penn and Mr. William Penn, 
were taken into partnership, and are now the proprietors of the 
Works at Greenwich and Deptford, where they employ about 2000 
hands. 

Mr. F. Penn and Mr. A. Penn, the younger sons, have both made 
their mark in the cricketing world ; the former particularly as a bats- 
man, the latter as a bowler. Both are members of the celebrated 
Marylebone Cricket Club, and also of the Kent County Club. Mr. F. 
Penn was a member of the representative team in the match England v. 
Australians, in 1880. 

A very conspicuous object from the eastern part of Lee is Shooter's- 
hill, with Sevemdroog Castle at the summit, which was a favourite re- 
sort for families about half a century ago, at which time it was well taken 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 27 

care of by the lodge keeper, under its liberal owner, John Blades, Esq., 
late Sheriff of London, who purchased it about the year 181 6, it being 
a very conspicuous object seven miles eastward of his beautiful mansion, 
Brockwell Hall, built on the delightful eminence between Brixton and 
Dulwich, Surrey. 

"This far-seen monumental tower, 

Records the achievements of the brave ; 
And Angria's subjugated power, 

Who plundered on the eastern wave." 

Bloompield. 
** A Narrative of the Capture. A.D. 1755, ^f Sevemdroog, the Pirate*s 
Stronghold, on the Mallabar Coast, by Commodore James, the 
Welsh Plowboy.'* 

This tower has three floors, an entrance vestibule, and a gallery, that 
was originally painted with scenes from the Investment of Severndroog. 
In the vestibule were arranged trophies of arms, etc., taken from the 
robbers* castle by Commodore James who was placed in command. 
The pirates, known as Angria's Band, had been for fifty years the terror 
and scourge of the Mallabar coast, in the East Indies, but this dashing 
pirate, Angria, was overmatched by our gallant British tars, who took 
possession of the citadel, and hoisted the British flag on its towers, 
2nd April, 1755. 

Time has swept away the relics of the past, except the following 
inscription over the doorway, on a broad stone tablet, placed there by 
his widow, Lady James : — 

"This building was erected in the year 1784, by the representa- 
tive of the late Sir William James, Bart., to commemorate that 
gallant officer's achivements in the East Indies, during his command 
of the Company's Marine Forces in those seas : and in a particular 
manner to record the conquest of the Castle of Sevemdroog, on the 
coast of Mallabar; which fell to his superior valour and able conduct, 
on the 2nd day of April, 1755." 

Shooter's-hill Castle was, from its elevated situation, in the first 
quarter of the present century, a conspicuous object from the village of 
Lee ; before the trees had grown so lofty the three upper floor windows 
often appeared to be beautifully illuminated" by the setting sun from 
the west. 

About a quarter of a mile westward is the Herbert Hospital, built 
for ihe accommodation of the invalid soldiers" from Woolwich ; and on 
the west side of the Eltham-road is the Greenwich Cemetery, with its 
chapels, erected on a beautiful knoll overlooking the Crystal Palace, 
Dulwich, Highgate, and Hampstead hills. This land, comprising 200 
acres, was purchased, in the year i733> by Sir Gregory Page, Bart., of 
Wricklemarsh House, being the Manor of East Home, formerly held by 
the Roper family for several centuries. 

Sir Gregory Page pulled down the old mansion of Well Hall, in 
Eltham Bottom, and built a very handsome farm house on the site, 
which, with the demesnes belonging to it, at the death of Sir Gregory, 
in 1775, came into the possession of his great-nephew. Sir Gregory Page 
Turner, Bart., of Oxfordshire, This farm was let, in the year 181 8, to 
Major Nichols, at about jQi per acre rent. The farm house was let for 
many years to Mr. Arnold, watchmaker to his Majesty George III, 
and who made a chronometer so small as to be worn in a ring on his 
Majesty's finger. He built those beautiful little additions on each side 



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28 HISTORY OF LEE 

of the main front of the hall for his workshops, in order to have some 
of his workmen near at hand. This mansion has had many occupiers 
within the past half-century ; E. Langley, Esq., is the present tenant. 

Wricklemarsh House stood near the site of Blackheath-park Church, 
on the west side. The round pond now exists ; the overflow from which 
runs on the side of the North Kent Railway, and under the road near 
the Blackheath Station, on the down side, from thence through the 
grounds of The Cedars, emptying itself into the lake. 

Mr. W. Morris, who rented the whole of the meadows of Wrickle- 
marsh, in the liberty of Kidbrooke, was a large owner of milch cows 
and farming stock ; the rich grazing land so near London was of great 
advantage to the milk trade. This land, at the latter part of the six- 
teenth century, belonged to Sir John Morden, Bart, the founder of 
Morden College, who died in 1708, and left his mansion house of 
Wricklemarsh, with its appurtenances, and many acres of land adjoining, 
of the yearly value of ;£^ioo, to his wife, Dame Susan Morden, by will, 
for life. 

After Lady Mordents death it was sold, in 1721, to Sir Gregory 
Page, Bart, of Greenwich, who erected here a noble and magnificent 
edSice of stone, one of the finest seats in England belonging to a 
private gentleman, and much admired for its fine situation and excellent 
air. The park was upwards of a mile in length, from north to south, 
and about five furlongs in width ; in the time of Sir Gregory it was kept 
in excellent order, that in neither the walks nor plantations scarcely a 
weed was suffered to grow. This magnificent edifice, at the d^ath of 
Sir Gregory, in 1775, came into the possession of his great-nephew. Sir 
Gregory Page Turner, who, in 1781, obtained an Act of Parliament for 
the sale of his uncle's estate, which took place in 1783. This mansion, 
Blackheath-park, and inclosures adjoining, were sold to John Cator, 
Esq., of Beckenham, for ;£^2 2,550 ; soon after it was sold out in lots for 
the materials, also the park was disparked, and several parts of it let to 
different persons for building purposes. The Paragon and those capital 
buildings called South-row are built on part of the estate. There was 
only a part of one of the walls of the east wing and doorway of the 
grand mansion left standing in the early part of the present century. 

Morden College is so named from its founder, Sir John Morden, of 
the before-mentioned Wricklemarsh Mansion, a merchant trading to 
Turkey, who brought home a large fortune from Aleppo. Several years 
before his death, taking pattern of the .Bishop of Rochester's College, 
at Bromley, he erected this building in the form of a college, for the 
support of poor, honest decayed merchants, for whose relief, among all 
the charitable foundations in London for distressed people, not one had 
been erected before ; and this college, for its ample endowment, is one 
of the most comfortable retreats for the aged and unfortunate that 
charity affords in this kingdom. The number of resident pensioners 
was fixed at thirty, who were to be upwards of fifty years of age, and 
either bachelors or widowers. The allowance to each was j[^2 per month, 
together with coals, candles, washing, and medicines, etc. There is a 
treasurer and chaplain. 

The management of the college is vested in seven Turkish merchants, 
and in case of failure of that body, they are to be chosen out of the 
East India Company., The benefactions which have been made to the 
college since its endowment, amount to upwards of ;^i 3,000 per 
annum. The college consists of a large brick building, having an in- 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 2^ 

ward square, and a chapeL The founder, agreeable to his will, was 
buried in a vault within this chapel, under the altar. 

This valuable estate of Wricklemarsh is situated in the several 
parishes of Greenwich, Charlton, Eltham, Lee, and the liberty of Kid- 
brook. Sir Gregory Page Turner still has a part of the estate in the 
various parishes before named ; Lee-park, around Christ Church to the 
High-road, is his property. Here, within this century, stood some of the 
handsomest oak and elm trees grown in any part of the county. Old 
Lee-park was the Crown land adjoining Burnt-ash-lane and Horn-park. 
The boundary of Lee parish goes through the centre passage of Horn- 
park House on the hill. The two parks formerly contained 669 acres ; 
viz. : Horn-park 333 acres, and Lee-park 336 acres. There was also 
Middle-park and Great-park. These four parks, with the demesne lands 
formerly attached to the Royal Palace at Eltham, amounted to 1652 
acres ; and the total value at the death of King Charles I., in 1648, was 
;;^86o 19s. 2d., and improvements ;^3o6 6s. yd. After this survey, the 
Manor, with its appurtenances, was disparked and let to different persons 
in farms. 

The large moat round the Palace, which is for the most part dry and 
covered with verdure, has two stone bridges over it ; the house on the 
left side ot the entrance has been in the occupation of the late 
Richard Mills, Esq., formerly of the Six Clerks' Office. The grounds 
and shrubberies were laid out round and in the moat, about 1825, by a 
landscape gardener, at the expense of the above gentleman, who lived 
to enjoy the pleasure of the improvements for upwards of fifty years, he 
dying in 1880, at a very advanced age. 

Adjoining Lee parish, on the east side of MarveFs-lane, about one 
mile from Burnt-ash-hill, and one mile south-westward from Eltham 
Church, is the hamlet of Mottingham, which bounds Lee parish. This 
place lies on the road to Chislehurst; it was formerly called Modig-Ham. 
About the centre of the hamlet, on the west side of the road, is Fairy 
Hall, in the last century the residence of Earl Bathurst, Lord High 
Chancellor of England, who being sworn of the Privy Council, was 
created Baron Apsley, on whose death, in 1794, it descended to his son 
Henry, Earl Bathurst. 

In Phillpot's "Survey of Kent," published in 1659, is an account 
of a very curious and surprising circumstance that happened at Motting- 
ham, on August 4th, 1583 : In a field belonging to Sir Percival Hart 
Dyke, one day, early in the morning, the ground began to sink so much 
that three large elm trees were suddenly swallowed up in the pit, the 
tops of them falling downwards into the hole, and before ten o'clock 
they were completely covered, the concave being immediately filled 
with water. The compass of this hole was about eighty yards, and so 
deep that a sounding line of fifty fathoms but just reached the bottom. 
At about ten yards distant from this hole, another piece of ground sunk 
in like manner, near the highway, and so near to a dwelling house as to 
greatly alarm its inhabitants. The hollows thus made can be seen at 
the present time, in the field opposite Fairy HalL The field is now the 
property of the Shroeter family. 

Fairy Hall was occupied for many years by W. Smith,. Esq., J. P. ; 
it is now the property of Mrs. Hartley, by whom the new mansion was 
built in 1856. In front of the house is a neat lawn, which contains 
fourteen acres of land, extending to the road. 

Mottingham Place, an ancient mansion at the entrance to the village, 



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30 HISTORY OF LEE 

on the west side of the road, was ^^if hy t^f fj^nr^/^arH fotn4)y^ \n igf^n^ 
and was sold by the Court of Cnancery, about the year 1795, to Mr. 
Dyneley, who, at that time, almost rebuilt the house in a handsome 
style. After a few years, it became the property of John Auldjo, Esq., an 
eminent London merchant, and now belongs to the Shroeter family, 
who have expended a large sum in making improvements. Another 
seat, which lies a small distance from the last mentioned, was in the 
possession of Mr. Joseph Carter, and the grounds on the west of this 
gentleman's seat bounds Water-lane, Lee, on the east side, leading to 
Claypit .Farm. At this farm, about the year 18 16, clay was dug to a 
^ery great extent, by Messrs. Giles and Harris, for making pottery and 
moulds for loaf sugar, at Greenwich Kilns ; hence the name of Clay 
Pits, MarveFs-lane. The farm contained 73 acres, and was the property 
of Mr. James Cooper, let to W. Pershouse, of Greenwich, in the year 
1836. Some meadows near here, also College Farm, containing about 
sixty-three acres, are the property of the Mercers' Company. 

At the south end of Marvel's-lane, and facing the Bromley-road, is 
Grove Farm, now called Grove-park, which was formerly the property 
of Thomas Waller, Esq., wine merchant, of the city of London. It 
was sold by the executors of that family to Mr. John Pound, for 
building purposes. It contained about sixty-eight acres of meadow 
and arable land, the frontage of which, on the Bromley-road, has been 
nearly all covered within the last few years with charming villas, which 
are near to the Grove-park Railway Station. 

Here is a new road made, running to the extreme end of Lee parish, 
adjoining the property of the late Sir Samuel Scott, the eminent banker, 
of Cavendish-square, London, and Sundridge-park, Bromley. About 
fifty acres of this estate is in the parish of Lee, and forms the southern 
boundary. Much of this land was formerly wood, known as Riddon's 
Wood, and was well stocked with game, and famous, in hot weather, for 
snakes, lizards, and adders. 

From here we intend following the boundary of the parish for the 
greater part of the way round, treating of the changes on the adjacent 
properties. This will form the commencement of another chapter. 



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CHAPTER ilL 

The Parish Boundaries — Leafy Oak — Manor Market Gardens and Farm — Hokum 
Pokum — Robberies-:— Lee Bridge and Houses near — Belmont House — Hally*s old 
Nursery — Proprietary School — Gravel Pits — Top of Lee Park — Lee Road — Kid- 
brooke — Eltham new Road — New Bridge, Lee Green — Windmill — Harrow Inn 
— Floods — Drowning of Mr. Green and horse — Tiger's Head Inn — Soldiers 
through Lee, i8i 5— Objectionable Excursionists, and Cow Tone of Society — Lee 
Races — Building Improvements, High-road and Burnt Ash-lane— Terrier of Free- 
hold Land — Glebe Rents and Tithes — Law of Gavelkind^-Residents in 18 14 — 
First Modem Houses. 

||FTER crossing the Bromley-road, we again enter the North- 
brook estate by Leafy Oak Meadows. On the upper hedge 
of these meadows stood a tall round-top oak tree, a land mark 
from Lee Church, it being the extreme end of the west side of the 
parish. In these meadows plovers annually resort and deposit their eggs 
in holes on the surface of the ground We here have a fine view of the 
Shroefields Farm, containing 175 acres, and Manor of Lee, from a high 
commanding spot extending to a field called Ivory Down, towards the 
Lee Cemetery. 

When perambulating the parish bounds, we take the course of a 
little rivulet that runs from thence to Manor-lane, and joins the Quaggy 
at Manor Farm. This farm, with Manor Cottage, was let on lease for 
twenty-one years, from 18 16, to Mr. Robert Elias Brown, late gardener 
to Lord Braybrooke, of Audley End House, Saffron Walden, Essex,' 
who, at great expense and labour, converted the land for market garden- 
ing, and brought it into a high state of cultivation, and planted fifty 
acres of fruit trees of all descriptions. These gardens, during the 
summer season, afforded employment for a great number of labourers 
of Lee, Greenwich, and other places. There were both men and women, 
the latter mostly from Shropshire and North Wales, and as they lived at 
a cheap rate, they generally returned home much richer than they left 
it. These gardens were noted for producing fine fruit, water-cresses, 
and early Battersea cabbages. There were three acres of water-cress 
beds next to the Quaggy. On the expiration of the lease, in 1837, the 
succeeding tenant grubbed up the whole of the fine plantations, and 
converted the land into its former state for farming purposes. This 
tenant, Mr. Thomas Postans, formerly had this farm, in 18 16, and 
having retired from the stewardship of the officers* mess at St. James's 
Palace, was afterwards engaged as steward of the Manor estate, by Sir 
Thomas Baring, who granted him a lease of Manor Farm, and he and 
his family resided in Manor Cottage for many years. Mr. Postans was 
elected Churchwarden of the old church with Mr. William Sidery, in the 
year 1837, and attended Sir Thomas Baring at the laying of the founda- 
tion-stone of the present St. Margaret's Church. The names of the 
Churchwardens were cast on the tenor of the small peal of three bells 
hung in the church tower. After a residence of upwards of fifty years 
in this parish, his declining health caused him to let the farm to 



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^1 HISTORY OF LEE 

Mr. Mark Cordwell, in the year 1845, father of the present tenant, who, 
together, by industry and perseverance, have brought it into a high state 
of cultivation. The farm now contains 104 acres. 

Weardale-road is the north-west boundary of Earl Northbrook's 
jwoperty. At the entrance of this road, when a meadow, there was a 
step-stile ; the place was commonly called Hokum Pokum, in conse- 
quence of the frequent robberies committed in its vicinity. As late as 
1850, the thieves laid in wait for the carriage of Messrs. Martin, bankers, 
of Lombard-street, who were on the journey to their mansion at Ghisle- ' 
hurst ; they were plundered of a large leather box, which was cut from 
the roof of the carriage, but fortunately the policeman on duty was close 
at hand at the time, and with assistance the thieves were taken in a 
hired cab with the booty. Near this spot was a small meadow rented by 
Mr. William Sidery for many years. The owner, Mr. Mollineux, sold 
the freehold for building purposes, and Mr. Sidery purchased a part next 
his own residence, and had the hedge next the High-road grubbed up. 
In so doing h^ found in the bank some implements, such as pistols, dark 
lanterns, jemmies, etc., that had been hidden there by robbers. In the 
early part of the morning, on the 20th May, 181 3, near this spot, Mr. 
John Heamden, the parish clerk and constable, was nearly killed by a 
notorious sheep stealer, who struck him on the head with an iron 
instrument, and left him insensible for some considerable time. Lee, at 
this period, was so rural as to be unsafe to be about after dusk ; indeed, 
gentlemen who had to travel to and from London were unsafe without 
firearms, after they had passed the Bricklayers' Arms, Old Kent-road. 
The medical gentlemen, too, on their journeys trom Greenwich to Lee, 
when attending their patients, never went without arming themselves 
with a brace of pistols. 

In the year 181 6, Dr. Brown of Lewisham, who had an extensive 
practice, was returning from the Kent Waterworks, Mill-lane, Deptford, 
when he was knocked down by a footpad, and had a desperate struggle 
to prevent being drowned in the Ravensbourne. 

We now proceed on our west boundary, between Lewisham and 
Lee, following the Quaggy, in the rear of Lee-place. Lee-place was the 
first row of modern houses built in the parish, about 181 2, by Messrs. 
John and Henry Lee of Loampit-hill, Lewisham, the well-known brick- 
makers and lime-burners. The houses nearer Lee-bridge were built 
some years previously, by Messrs. Skinner and Barff, of Lee-bridge. 
Those next to College-park-bridge, with the Sultan beershop, were 
formerly the property of the Lord of the Manor, but Lord Sondes, in 
the last century, let the quit-rents fall in arrear, so others have kept 
possession ever since. Those at the extreme corner are the property of 
an old Lee family of the name of Chapman ; the builder was a journey- 
man bricklayer, who erected them in his overtime. Mr. Bonor, the 
gentleman afterwards murdered at Chislehurst, seeing that the building 
of these houses was a long time in hand, inquired the reason, and was 
informed that the owner was too poor to finish them, upon which he 
sent Chapman 10,000 bricks, as a present, to finish the buildings. 

Lee Bridge was built in 1792 by the County magistrates; it is the 
end of the High-road, Lee. The boundary continues in the centre of 
the stream as far as St Stephen's Church, then longitudinally to the 
rear of the grounds of Belmont House, which belongs to the Mercers* 
Company. Here, formerly, was a beautiful mount in a meadow of about 
ten acres, with a most enchanting prospect, and commanding a view of 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 33 

St. Paul's Cathedral and Westminster Abbey, Highgate and Haitip- 
stead hills ; and, on the south-west, the Sydenham and Norwood hills ; 
and also the far-seen Knockholt Beeches. This was one of the most 
picturesque parts at the west end of the parish; hill and dale were 
covered with broom and furze, also conies played about the sand hills 
and burrows. Belmont House now stands on this mount ; it was built 
by George Ledgewell Taylor, Esq., about 1830, when he was the 
Government Surveyor of His Majesty's Dockyards ; it is now occupied 
by John Wainewright, Esq. 

We now proceed eastwards into the fir plantation of The Cedars, 
and up the centre of the lake, in a boat, to Love-lane, from thence 
through the arch of the old ditch, under Love-lane, in the rear of the 
Earl of St. Germans' land, then on to the left through the small meadow, 
following the old ditch to the rear of Miss Collins's property, to the 
side of the shop next the cab entrance at the Blackheath Railway Sta- 
tion, then to the centre of the road in front of Mr. Burnside's shop, on 
past the Railway Tavern. Here, before the North Kent Railway Station 
was built, was Hall/s Nursery, where a fine collection of evergreen 
and deciduous trees and shrubs were grown. Mr. Hally cultivated 
camellias with great success, for many years, in the garden of Wrickle- 
marsh House. Near here was also a fine spring of excellent water, and 
public baths. 

A little further on is the old Proprietary School, built on the site of 
an old gravel pit. The gravel dug here, when mixed with one-third of 
Croydon gravel, could be brought to a solid and even surface, and very 
durable. This pit was particularly central and advantageous to the Lee 
surveyor of highways for the repair of the parish roads and footpaths. 

We now come to Lee Park, on the top of Cresswell-hill ; before 
Park-place was built, about 1809, this was one of the most delightful 
prospects over a part of Lee. We had a full view of Dacre House and 
all the venerable mansions in the Old-road, including Boone's estate, 
with the rookeries and beautiful island, and fine piece of water and 
swans. Lee-park was leased to Lady Dacre, and during her lifetime was 
kept in excellent order. About the centre of the upper part, in front of 
Christ Church, there was an excavation of about a quarter of an acre 
of ground, of a circular shape, where her ladyship used to have buried 
her favourite horses and cows ; and many bones were dug up in making . 
the foundations for the houses now built there, by the late Mr. W. G. 
Pinhey. 

Early in the last century, Madam Lewin, residing in Lee House, 
Old-road, was the owner of this park, and conveyed water from a reser- 
voir now in existence, fed from a beautiful spring, through leaden pipes 
welded hog-main fashion ; this was before the process of casting pipes 
was adopted. The right of relaying and breaking up the ground for 
that purpose is reserved up to the present time ; the well is in the road- 
way, near Mr. Saville's nursery, and the reservoir is inside the corner of 
Mr. Tuffin's nursery. 

We pass on from Cresswell-hill down Lee-road to Priory-lane, leaving 
the boundary of Charlton parish on the left. 

There the Liberty of Kidbrook, usually so called, adjoins Charlton, 
on the "south side of the' London-road. It was anciently written Chite- 
broc, and was once a parish of itself, though now esteemed as an 
appendage to that of Charlton, having one overseer of the poor ap- 
pointed for it. The Church of Kidbrook was called, in the " Textus 

3 



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34 



HlsrotlV 6F LEC 



Roflfefuis,'' the Chapel of Chitebroc, and valued at loo shilliiigs ; the 
patronage of it was, from the earliest tim es, annexed to the Mamv. 
The present lord of the Manor is Lord Eliot The ancient church has 
been entirely demolished for many years, for the vicarage, being unen- 
dowed, fell into neglect and decay, and the inhabitants were unable to 
repair it Hasted, in his ** Histcwry of Kent," says he could find an 
account of only two Vicars of this place, which was in 1348. The in- 
habitants for many years resorted to Charlton, Lee, and Blackheath-park 
churches; but on the 3rd July, 1867, St James's Church, Kidbrook 
Park-road, was consecrated. 

Within the past halfcentury, Kidbrook has become a fashionable 
suburb, and is daily improving in el^ant villas and mansions, built for 
promoting the health and comforts of life for those who seek a residence 
on the south side of the Thames and Blackheath. It is within the 
jurisdiction of the Metropolitan Board, and sends two members to the 
Flumstead Board of Works ; also guardians to the Woolwich Union. 

The boundary-posts of Kidbrook stood, one in the Lee-road, at the 
end of the overflow arch of the Long-pond in Sir Gregory Page's estate, 
and the other in the centre of the road and brook, Lee Green, before 
the Tiger's Head bridge was built, in the year 1866. 

The footpath of the Kidbrook side of Lee-road was formerly twelve 
feet wide, four feet high, and partly covered with brambles and furze ; 
but when the new road was made from the Tiger's Head to Eltham 
Green, by Horton ledger, surveyor to the New Cross Trust, in the year 
1829, he lowered the path for the use of the materials to fill up the old 
road. lyce-park had only two houses built on the side of Lee-road at 
thJB date, and furze and yellow broom grew wild on the roadside. 

Before the present wide and substantial bridge was erected, by the 
Plumstead Board of Works, there was only a foot bridge on the west 
side, and at the time of sudden rains the brook was swofien so much as 
to rise nine feet in height, making it dangerous and impassable where it 
crossed the road. At such times the Eltham omnibus and all other 
vehicles had to traverse the High-road through Lee-park to the Railway 
Station. Before Wall's-place and Eastbourne and Gordon Terraces were 
built, Lee Green was a large open space of about two acres, part in 
Eltham and Kidbrook. Large parties of city gentlemen, during the 
summer season, much frequented this place for healthful recreation, 
about half a century ago. 

The Tiger's Head inn was famous for its bowling green, and for 
providing entertainment for companies from London, after the cricket 
matches on the green. On the east side there was a very substantial 
windmill, built by Mr. Cassendick, of Lewisham, and kept by Mr. Loat, 
which was a great boon to the poor around that farming neighbourhood, 
for grinding their leasing corn. A very curious circumstance happened 
to this mill, about November, 1832 — a very destructive wind blew the 
mill out of The Harrow meadow over the hedge into the adjoining field ! 
It was afterwards erected at Lee Green. The one that was pulled down 
to make room for the houses now built on the front road, was built in 
the place of this one. The old footpath here was about ten feet wide 
and five feet above the road, with a wide bank covered with bramble 
and furze, and sloping towards the old road, which was five feet below 
the present one, from Lee Green to Eltham bridge ; it was also very 
narrow. At the end of the footpath stood The Harrow public house, 
with large trees in front and a horse trough. This house was a notorious 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 35 

rendezvous for smugglers in the early part of the present century, and 
the Magistrates eventually refused to renew the license, in order to stop 
the nefarious traffic in contraband spirits, as an immense deal of that 
sort of trading was carried on in the rural bye roads and ways in former 
years. The house was converted into three labourers' cottages, which 
were very serviceable to the adjoining farms. 

This road was always subject to annual floods, at the break up of the 
old-fashioned winters ; after the general thaw of ice and snow the banks 
of the Quaggy at Eltham-bridge overflowed into the old road, and used 
to rise to the height of four feet, and re-entered the Quaggy near the 
Tiger's Head inn, at Lee Green,^ before the present bridge was built. 
Here, about eight o'clock, on Christmas Eve, 1830, the water rose in 
height to seven feet, flowing with great violence across the Lee-road; and 
a Mr. Green, farmer, of Bromley, attempted to ford the stream with his 
horse and chaise, although forewarned of the danger; the force of 
water carried the whole under the old bridge, and man and horse were 
drowned. Many other persons have had very narrow escapes at this 
spot. 

The present Tiger's Head inn was built by one Roger Roberts, on a 
lease of ninety years, from 1766, granted by Lord Sondes. Formerly 
the access to the front entrance was by four stone steps to the base- 
ment floor, in order to avoid the inundations. There was then a large 
pond, where Crown-terrace is now built, that received the storm water 
from Burnt-ash'lane. It was called the Horse-pond, and was used for 
watering horses and the numerous droves of Welsh cattle that travelled 
on these roads. 

After the first thaw in the severe winter of 1 8 14, January 26t;h, the 
water overflowed the banks of the Quaggy so much as to cover the 
lower half of Lee-park, and a second and more severe frost set in on 
.January 29th, and froze over the whole surface. The ice and snow 
were two feet deep, and people walked on it with ease ; it was so thick 
and congealed that it did not wholly disappear until the end of June. 
Vegetation was eaten up by the birds, and some thousands of larks, 
which came in large flocks from Holland, were killed by the frost. 
After the general break up of this winter, many persons were found 
frozen to death, and others frost-bitten. Bread was eighteen-pence per 
4lb. loaf, and many poor families were assisted in order to keep them 
from starvation. 

In the year following, the scene in Lee was much altered, as the 
the cavalry regiments of the Horse Guards and Hussars, and also regi- 
ments of Foot, for three weeks, were on the march through this village, 
en route to Waterloo. The roads were almost impassable day and night, 
and ihe whole country seemed to be a complete moving arsenal It 
was very imposing to see the assembled soldiers with transports of arms 
of war. The space in front of the Tiger's Head, and the Green, were 
very commodious for the transfer of baggage from the waggons of the 
farmers from the other side of London to those of the farmers in this 
neighbourhood, which were pressed for that purpose,, to convey them 
fifteen miles farther on the journey to Dover. 

In consequence of the heavy and numerous transports of troops, 
baggage, ammunition, and material, measures were rendered necessary 
to divide the marching army into two divisions, from London, to prevent 
disorder, one half going through Deptford and Blackheath, the other 
through Lewisham and Lee, to Dover. The general aspect of the 



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36 HISTORY OF LEE 

soldiers on the march was excellent ; many regiments were in new uni- 
forms, and all had a thoroughly martial appearance. But on their 
return they presented a sad and distressing spectacle, as the remnant of 
this victorious and gallant army passed through our little village on their ^ 
way home. Some were grievously wounded ; some had lost a leg, an 
arm, or an eye. The accoutrements and clothing told a terrible tale ; 
and all the brave men looked weak and worn, as if they had been 
opposed to a fierce enemy before quitting the battle-field of Waterloo, 
1 8th June, 18 15. In the year following, Lee-green had the honour of 
receiving Marshal von Blucher, on his journey to London, to join the 
allied Sovereigns on their visit to this country. 

The large open space in front of the Tiger^s Head was often the 
scene of processions and meetings. In the early part of the present 
century, a deal of drinking and licentiousness was carried on at the 
various roadside inns near London, especially if there were any open 
spaces near. The law was often evaded, or not put in force, and when 
war time, the Government was much in want of an increased revenue, 
which was easiest obtained by the greater sale of excisable liquors. The 
inns around London did an enormous amount of business, especially on 
Sundays, as at that time they kept open all day. 

The Tiger's Head, being the first stage out of London, was a 
favourite resort and house of call. Cribb, John Gully, and Molyneux, 
the noted pugilists, used to meet here before they were- trained at the 
Porcupine Inn, Mottingham. These assemblies were attended with 
great rudeness, and often on Sundays, men could be seen stripped to 
the waist, and fighting. The file of chaise carts, on the side of the 
road, mostly covered the eighth of a mile -, and all the persons, both 
male and female, being gaily dressed, the whole country appeared to be 
keeping holiday. Everybody, at this period, travelled by road, as there 
were neither railway nor steamboat. 

On the Plough-green (now Shepherd's-place), Lewisham, annually 
on St. Thomas's Day, there were held the cruel sports of bull-baiting 
and cock-fighting. At this time, the Armoury Mills, at Lewisham, were 
in full work for the Government ; and the men, being for the most part, 
a low-bred set of fellows from Birmingham, committed many depreda- 
tions around the neighbourhood. Gardens were plundered, preserved 
ponds and the rivers were poached. After the peace was concluded, 
there being no further necessity for these works, the property was sold 
and converted into the silk mills, now on the Ravensbourne. 

Lee races, held annually in Lee-park, were a great nuisance to the 
neighbourhood, attended as they were by so many of the lowest classes 
from London, Deptford, Greenwich, etc., such as pickpockets and 
welshers. There were many accidents at these races, both to man and 
horse ; one year a Greenwich pensioner was killed on the course, near 
the grand stand, at the back of the Tiger's Head garden, and this event 
put an end to them being again held there. They were afterwards held 
in The Harrow meadows, Eltham-road, before the present substantial 
residences were built there. . 

We cannot be too thankful that the long list of these nuisances 
is now abolished, and that we live in more refined times. 

Formerly the old-fashioned Eltham coach, with its commodious 
dickey behind, driven by Captain Harvey, of Middle Park, a one-arm 
gentleman and Waterloo veteran, and the Dartford and Orpington 
coaches, passed through Lee, and were a great accommodation. 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. J? 

The hours of pleasure and business, and the modes of taking the 
one, and conducting the other, are very much altered from what they 
were fifty years ago. Then gentlemen took their pleasure and business 
more easily together;. and tradesmen had regular customers to attend 
daily, and when honest and well conducted, their business was an heir- 
loom to their families. 

Until 1825 there was but one small chandler's shop in Lee. In that 
year some modern shops were erected at Lee-green, from where the 
police station is now built to the lane, which was a piece of waste 
ground. The open ditch by the side of this ground was arched over 
before the buildings were commenced* At this time, too, the road was 
much improved, and a new bridge built in the High-road; the old 
wooden houses taken down, and Camden-place built on the site. 

On the north side of the road stood an old ruinous house, formerly 
occupied by Mr. William Voller, also some stabling and an old cottage : 
these were sold by auction and pulled down, and the present cottages 
erected. 

At the expiration of the leases of the farming land east and west of 
Burnt-ash-lane, houses were built there with astonishing rapidity, and 
are at the present time daily increasing up the whole length of road to 
Grove-park station on the Bromley-road. 

In the year 1841, a Terrier of all the freehold land in the parish of 

Lee, was made by Mr. Richard Martyr, land surveyor, of Greenwich, 

for the Tithe Commissioners, the expense of making same being charged 

to the freeholders. It was as follows : — 

A. R. p. 

Baring, Sir Thomas, Bart. ; Manor-house and gardens. 
Manor-farm, Burnt Ash-farm, Shroefields and Bankers 
manors 

Brandram, Thomas; Lee-grove (now The Cedars)... 

Crown lands : Horn-park, old Lee-park-farm, Lee-green . . . 

Cooper, James; Claypit-farm, Marvel's-lane, Burnt-ash 

Collins, Miss; Lee-terrace, Lawn-terrace, Hally's-nursery, 

old Proprietary-school ... ... ... ... ... 13 121 

Elmly, or Emly, Mrs. ; house and grounds, now in the occu- 
pation of Leonard Bidwell, Esq. ... ... ... ... 2 2 7 

Karl St. Germans ; Belmont-hill, Marischal-road, thence to 
Lee-bridge, Granville-terrace, St. Stephen's-terrace, to 
the Church ... ... ... ... ... ... 16 i 39 

Farncomb, and Others ; Boone-street, Dacre-street, Church- 
street, all the shops abutting these streets, north of the 
High-road, purchased at sale of Boone's estate, 1824 ... 12 o o 

Godmond, Christopher; Thatched-house and next. High- 
road ... ... ... ,.. ... ... ... 4 3 10 

Larking, J. Wingfield ; Lee-lodge (now The Firs), Old-road, 

from Manor-lane to Manor-park 11 i 8 

Merchant Taylors' Company ; land, new Almshouses, Bel- 

mont-park... ... ... ... ... ... ... 24 2 39 

Mercers' Company; Belmont - house. College - farm, and 

land in Mafvel's-lane 71 012 

Morris, William : cottages. Crab-croft, Marvel's-lane ... 3 i 13 

Molyneux, William ; land and cottages (now Rose of Lee, 

and Lee-chapel) ... ... ... ... ... ... i 2 35 

3—2 



510 





36 


2 2 


161 


I 37 


72 


3 26 



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38 HISTORY OF LEE 

Terrier of Freehold Land — continued, a. r. p. 

Page-Turner, Sir Gregory, from Lee-park-lodge (Mr. Burton's) 
to the bridge. Lee-road, thence north-east of High-road, 

Turner-road, and all Lee-park ... ... ... ... 47 2 3 

Powis, Richard ; land near Mottingham and MarveFs-lane 9 i 35 

Scott, Sir Samuel, Bart. ; land near Bromley 50 o 8 

Shuter, Thomas Allen ; Dacre-house, Royal-oak-place, 

Boones-road, Lansdown-road, and Tilling's-mews ... 7 121 
Smith, Capt. Matthew ; mansion and land in front of Old- 
road (Pentland-house), also field (now Holy Trinity- 
church, Belgrave-villas, etc.) ... ... ... ... 6 223 

St. Quinten, — ; land, Dacre-park to Lee-ter. (now built on) 12 2 o 

Stuart, W. F. ; Lee-house, Old-road, and grounds ... ... 8 i 4 

Waller, Thomas; Grove-farm and cottages. Marvel's- and 

Bromley-lanes 68 i 23 

Walker, Charles; Grove-place (now Wyberton-house, Lee- 
terrace, and garden in rear) ... ... ... ... 2 3 22 

Young, J. Halliburton ; mansion and grounds. Old-road ... 4 i 14 

Land in churchyards; old, 2r. 23p.; new, la. 2r. 25p. ... 2 o 38 

The Glebe ; the rectory-house and grounds, part Lee-terrace, 

and land in Bromley-lane ... ... ... ... 19 on 

The following is a list of smaller freeholds in various 
parts of Lee : — 

BarfF, Harriet ; houses in Albion-place, High-road ... ... o 117 

Barber, Thomas ; three houses Brandram-road and Dacre-st. o o 24 

Blackshaw, James ; houses south side of Dacre-street .., o o 15 

Bran gwin, Castle ; houses east of Lee-place ... ... o o 33 

Cranfield, — ; houses in Lee-place, High-road ... ... o 3 32 

Chapman, James ; small tenements. Lee-bridge ... ... o on 

Driver, Edward ; houses and shops, James's-place, High-rd. o i 35 

Durham, Jacob ; Woodman-inn, and shops, High-road ... 0135 

Foard, Mary ; part of Albion-place ... ... ... ... o i 3 

Forbes, William ; houses Zetland-place and adjoining ... o o 14 
Hart, F. H. ; seven houses Boones-street (the owner named 

this street) ... ... ... ... ... ... o o 36 

Jackson, James ; Sultan-beershop, and property adjoining... o o 13 

Lee, William and Charles ; houses Lee-place, High-road ... o i 4 

Morley, Henry; houses „ „ ... o i 15 

Millard, John; bakery and houses, north corner Boones-st. o o 32 

Parker, T. W. ; White Horse-inn and shops adjoining ... o 021 

Trustees of National-schools, Church-street o i 23 

Toswell, Charles ; Caroline-place, and land adjoining (now 

built on) o I 29 

There have been many sales and changes of the freeholds and lease- 
holds since the aforesaid terrier was made. The map and apportionment 

of the rent charge, in lieu of tithes, for the parish of Lee, amounting 
to ;^409, was signed and sealed by the Tithe Commissioners for 
England and Wales, February, 1841 ; the Rev. George Lock, M.A, was 
then Rector. 

It has been generally thought that the living and Rectory, with all 
its rights, is a very productive one, from the supposition that a large 

emolument is realised from the glebe rents and tithes ; but such is not 
correct. The Rev. G. Lock informed the author many years ago, that 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 39 

the expense of collecting tithes and ground rents on the glebe amounted 
to ;£^25 per cent., and, after all rates and taxes were paid, he had to en- 
croach on his own private purse to live and subscribe to the charities 
of the neighbourhood. 

Since that period the parish has been included in one of the districts 
of the Metropolitan Board and Metropolitan Poor Fund, so that the 
rates and taxes amount to a much larger sum than formerly. 

The land belonging to the Lee Manor being entailed, Earl North- 
brook has no power to sell any of the freehold, except by covenant 
under the trustees, to add the same in value to his other estate in 
Hampshire. The Crown lands are under the management ot the* Com- 
missioners of the Woods and Forests ; College Farih, and other lands, 
in trust of the Mercers* Company; trustees of Belmont-park, the 
Merchant Taylors' Company. 

The law of gavelkind is a peculiar tenure or custom belonging to 
lands in the county of Kent, whereby the lands of the father, at his 
death, are equally divided among. all his sons; or the land of a brother 
among all his brethren, if he have no issue of his own, unless it has 
been dis-gavelled by particular statutes. This was the tenure of all 
lands in England before the Conquest, in 1066. But after the Norman 
Conquest, when knights' service was introduced, the descent was re- 
strained to the eldest son for preservation of the tenure, except in Kent ; 
and the reason recorded is, that the Kentish men surrounded William 
the Conqueror with a moving wood of green boughs, near the river 
Medway, and obtained a confirmation of their ancient rights of Saxon 
liberty ; hence the origin of the Men of Kent and the Kentish Men. 

"THE MEN OF KENT. 

" When Counties round, with fear profound, 
To mend their sad condition, 
Their lands to save, base homage gave, — 
Bold Kent made no submission. 
The hardy stout Freeholders 

That knew the Tyrant was near, 
In girdles and on shoulders, 
A grove of oaks did bear ; 

" Whom when he saw in battle draw, • 
And thought how he might need 'em. 
He turned his arms, allowed their terms, 
Replete with noble freedom. 

The promised land of blessing 
(For* our forefathers meant) 
Is now in sight possessing. 
For Canaan sure was Kent. 

** The dome at Knole, by same enroll'd; 
The Church at Canterbury ; 
The hops, the beer, the cherries here ; 
Would fill a famous story. 

Then sing in praise of the Men of Kent, 

So loyal, brave, and free ; 
*Mongst Britains race, if one surpass, 
A Man of Kent is he." 

It is universally known what struggles the men of Kent made to 
preserve their ancient liberties, and maintain their ancient law of gavel- 
kind, and the success with which those struggles were attended. All 
lands in Kent are taken to be under that tenure, and heirs, at the age of 
fifteen, may give and sell their lands in gavelkind, and can inherit. To 



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40 HISTORY OF LEE 

show that this ancient tenure is still in existence, the author of this work 
purchased a tenement and land in the High-street, Eltham, in the year 
1839, l^ft by will of an old inhabitant of Eltham to his only daughter. 
This lady died and left issue three sons. The husband expected that he 
should receive the whole amount of the purchase money ; but this being 
under the ancient tenure, the three sons put in their claim and obtained 
equal shares, after deducting their father's life interest in the property. 

It was also supposed that if the father was attainted of treason or 
felony, the heir of gavelkind land could inherit ; for the custom was 
said to be, " The father to the bough, and the son to the plough." The 
men of Kent, having made terms with the Conqueror, were left in quiet 
possession of their old Saxon privileges and free customs, the county 
escaping all the political convulsions which swept over England after 
the Conquest. 

In the reign of Henry VI. there were not above forty persons in all 
Kent that held property by any other tenure than this of gavelkind ; 
which was afterwards altered in much of the land of the county, jupon 
the petition of divers Kentish gentlemen, so as to descend to the eldest 
son, according to th£ course of common law, by statute 21 Henry VIII., 
cap. 3, for Dis-gavelling Lands in Kent; and by statute 31 Henry VIII. , 
cap. 26. Also by charter of King John, Hubert, Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, was authorised to exchange those tenures holden of the see of 
Canterbury, into tenures of knight's service. This peculiar tenure had 
effect on some of the lands in Lee, and when the sale and transfer of 
any land or tenement takes place, the title deeds are always questioned 
whether the property has been dis-gavelled, according to the course of 
common law and custom of the realm, in order to give a good title, of 
the same to the purchaser of the estate. 

In front of Park-place there formerly stood a house, built of wood, 
of only two rooms on the ground floor. Most of the old houses in the 
parish have been pulled down. Some were called rookeries, in conse- 
quence of the number of families crowded in one of these old tenements. 
Accommodation in house property was so small, that the author states 
below, from memory, the occupiers of every mansion, house, and tene- 
ment, in Lee, in 1814, starting from the Tiger's Head inn, Lee Green, 
which is the only house left of old Lee in that part of the parish : — 

William Phillips, landlord, Tiger's Charles Parkinson, College-farm 

Head-inn Giles and Harris, Claypit-farm 

John Giles, Lee-park-farm Jacob Spicer, cottage, cornerWater- 

George Giles, Burnt-ash-farm lane 

Thomas Waller, Grove-farm Daniel Wadman, cottage, Burnt- 
Thomas Raynor, bailiff, cottage on ash-lane 

Grove-farm Samuel Smith, shoemaker, ditto 

W. Stilwell, cottage, corner Mar- Jas. Wall, carpenter, wooden cot- 

vel's-lane tage, on slip of land by side of 

George Russell, cottage, Burnt- . the Quaggy, Lee-green 

ash-lane Thomas Shearman, wheelwright 

C. Fennel, next Tiger's Head, Wm. Hurdis, bailiff on Burnt- Ash- 
High-road farni 

Jas. Burke, wooden cottage, Lee- Henry Butler, muf!in-maker 

green Thos. Barrow, baker and constable 

(Waste land over the water) James Burke, pensioner of Sir F. 

Richard Starnes, Horn-park-farm Baring 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 



4t 



James Anderson, gardener to ditto 
Richard Willmott, farm servant 
William Hudson, gardener to J. R. 

Williams 
Miss Potter, corner of Old-road 
William Leitch, sen., carpenter 
— Beatson (now Working-men's 

Institute) 
William Morland, Lee-house 
James R. Williams, J. P. (now .Mr. 

Young's) 
Benjamin Aislabie, Boone's-man- 

sion 
Frederick Perkins, Manor-house 
Miss Grimani, ladies' school (now 

Pentland-house) 
Miss Hart, young gentleman's pre- 
paratory school 
Robert E. Brown, Manor market- 
gardens 
Joseph Sladen (now The Firs) 
Mrs. Wooderson, dame's - school. 
No. I, Boone's-almshouses, next 
the chapel 
Mrs. Turrell, J. Dowden, No. 2 
Mrs. Kemp, Mrs. Hearnden, No. 3 
James Adams, George Lee, No. 4 
Miss White, north-west corner of 

Brandram-road 
Mrs. Casey Love, No. 2, North-row, 

High-road 
Jas. Adams, jun., John Corn, 3, 4 
Geoi^e Groom, Thomas Ball, 5, 6 
Thos. Pickering, Mrs. Greathead, 7 , 8 
Jane Weaver, George Allen, 9, 10 
Miss Knibb, Mrs. Humphreys, 11, 

and 1 2 
Wm. Leitch, jun., carpenter, south 

side 
James Mills, — Morgan, F. Hud- 
son, — Hanlon, — Casselton, 
all tenants in Rookery-house 
William Norris, Rose-cottage (now 

Rose of Lee) 
Christopher Godmond, north side 



(From here to Lee-bridge all 
houses were on the south side,) 

William Sidery, builder and church- 
warden 
Miss Walker, Mrs. Wiltshire 
George Fowle, carpenter 
Wm. Arscott, Mrs. Rowell 
Mrs. Crossley, next Lee-place 
Mrs. Dickenson, Mrs. Baildon, 

Nos. I and 2, Lee-place 
Mrs. Wynch, Capt. Wright, 3, 4 
— Watson, — Strickland, 5, 6 
Capt. Trounce, — Hunter, 7, 8 
Miss Robinson, W. F. Court- 
ney, 9, 10 
Capt. Tripe, -^ Booth, 11, 12 
Mrs. Eaton, No. i, Caroline-place 
Nathaniel Scarlett, — Rogers, 2, 3 
Mrs Sills, and vacant land. No. 4 
John Welsh, No. i, Albion-place 
Mrs. Drew, John Hearnden, 2, 3 
L'Abbe de Tellier, Mrs. Mott, 4, 5 
John Carr, — Edwards, 6, 7 
Mrs. Cleeves, Hannah Mills, 8, 9 
Charles Pram, Mary Foard, 10, 11 
Samuel Wilkins, No. i. Elm-place 
Thos. Barber, Mrs. Moore, 2, 3 
Thos. Cook, James Arscott 4, 5 
Daniel Goddard, J. Bilby, 6, 7 
William Topham, — Grainger, 8, 9 
Mrs. Groves, T. Delany, 10, 11 
Mrs. Cutmore, Thos. Fowle, 12, 13 
Robt. Chissel, T. Narroway,.i4, 15 
Henry Vickers, — Bird, 16, 17 
John Morris, — Smith, 18, 19 
C. Heath, Joseph Vickers, 20, 21 
William Skinner, Mrs. Budd, Lee- 
bridge 
William Moore, hair-dresser (now 

White Horse-inn) 
Thomas Brandram, Lee-grove 
The Rev. Geo. Lock, the Rectory 
Alderman Matthias Prime Lucas, 
Dacre-house 



The author can vouch that the foregoing list of occupiers of houses 
and tenements in the parish of Lee, from the year 1814 to the year 
18 18, to be correct; having carefully compared notes with two old 
inhabitants of Lee, now residing in the parish. One, Daniel Wadman, 
senr., who, when a boy, lived with his father in Burnt-ash-lane cottages, 
and worked on most all the farms in the parish. He has verified the 
same to be correct from his long residence, and from being familiar 
with most of the residents. Many years must have passed since any 
houses had been erected in Lee, the very oldest being all built of wood. 



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42 HISTORY OF LEE 

The first modern houses erected, were built in the year 1809, by 
Sir Francis Baring, Bart., great-grandfather to the present Earl North- 
brook, and they are two semi-detatched houses at the side of Camden- 
pkce, next the bridge, Lee Green. Sir Francis was one of those noble- 
men of the old school, who made provision for his old and faithful 
servants in their old age, for which purpose these houses were built. 
He superannuated his butler and- gardener, with a pension of ;^3o per 
annum and one of those houses each, to reside in for life. Their 
widows lived to enjoy the benefit of the pension for upwards of thirty 
years. The buildings now look ancient. 

The next houses erected was Lee-place, in the High-road, leading to 
Lee-bridge, on the south side, in the year 181 2. Lee-grove and Lee- 
terrace were built in 1825. Since that time there has been no greater 
increase of inhabitants and accumulation of buildings in any village 
round London than Lee, which, within the space of the past forty years, 
has doubled and trebled in magnitude. 

And whilst all this vast increase of houses and population has been 
going on, successful efforts have from time to time been made to pro- 
vide for the spiritual welfare of the people, in erecting churches and 
chapels for public worship. Schools, too, for the education of the poor, 
have been established ; and various societies for the advancement of the 
moral, intellectual, and social welfare of the inhabitants generally set on 
foot, and kept going. 

A summary and review of these, together with a notice of the several 
charitable institutions connected with the parish, will be the subject 
matter of our next chapter. 



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CHAPTER IV. 

Places of Public Worship in Lee : The Parish Church— Christ Church, Lee Park- 
Holy Trinity Church— St. Mildred's, Burnt Ash Hill— St. Peter's, Eltham Road— 
Boone's Chapel — New Church in Handen Road — Congregational Chapel — Lee 
Baptist Chapels — Bible Christian Chapel — ^Charities in Lee : Boone's Charity — 
Queen Elizabeth's College, Greenwich — Hatcliflfe's Charity— Simeon Shole's Trust 
— The Sladen Trust — Lampe Meade — Lee Soup Kitchen — Fund to alleviate Dis- 
tress in Lee, January, i86i. 

I HE present parish church of St. Margaret, Lee, was built 
under a local Act of Parliament, i and 2 Vic, cap. 54, passed 
4th July, 1838. The old parish church had become so di- 
lapidated that its repair would have been a great expense to the in- 
habitants, and as the church and churchyard were both inadequate to 
the wants of the parish, it was thought desirable that a new church, 
capable of accommodating a greater number of people, should be 
erected, with a churchyard of suitable size attached. 

Thomas Brandram, JEsq., having offered a convenient site for a new 
church and churchyard, opposite to the old one, about la. 2r. 2 5 p., 
for the sum of ;^937 los., the said offer, being advantageous to the 
inhabitants, was accepted. The gross value of land adjacent was 
about ;^iooo per acre. The old church was taken down after the 
consecration of the new one, which, when consecrated, became in every 
respect, the parish church. The first committee appointed to carry the 
Act into execution, was the Rev. G. Lock, Rector, chairman ; T. Brand- 
ram, Esq., treasurer; Joseph Sladen, Esq., Capt. W. E. Farrer, C. A. 
Fergusson, Esq., J. Meadows White, Esq., Thomas Postans and William 
Sidery, churchwardens, F. H. Hart, sidesman. 

The first stone was laid by Sir Thomas Baring, Bart., 17th July, 1839. 

The new church and churchyard were consecrated on the nth of 
March, 1841, by the Lord Bishop of Rochester, and opened for divine 
service. 

Sir Thomas Baring, Bart, Lord of the Manor of Lee, claimed, by 
faculty, in respect of his mansion house, eight free sittings for his family, 
also four free sittings for his servants, and to be for ever annexed to his 
said mansion, he having subscribed ;^4oo to the building fund of the 
church. Joseph Sladen, Esq., a parishioner, also claimed, by faculty, 
in like manner, in lieu of his sittings in the old church, and having 
subscribed ;^5oo to the building fund of the new church. The com- 
mittee also appropriated twelve sittings to the Rector, for the use of his 
family and servants, without any payment whatsoever. The committee 
set out in various parts of the church, one-fourth of the whole number 
of sittings to be free and open for divine service and the administration 
of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper to any person resident in 
the parish, who should be willing to occupy the same, without payment 
whatsoever, according to the Act. 



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44 HISTORY OF LEE 

The committee also charged the pew rents with the annual payment 
of jCs^i i^ favour of the Rector of Lee, he giving up all rights and 
claims in or to the chancel of the church, and being relieved from all 
burden as to the repairs thereof. The committee having appropriated 
the sittings required by the parishioners who had applied for the same, 
the remainder were let to non-residents in the parish, all subject to 
three months' notice from Christmas in each year. 

At a vestry, held 17 th January, 1844, the Rector announced to the 
parishioners that it was his intention to provide a third service, in order 
to meet the wishes of the inhabitants. To provide for this service, a 
subscription was raised for fitting up the church with the Bude liglit, 
which amounted to ;^2i9 is. 6d. ; and it was also resolved that annual 
subscriptions be collected from the congregation for the expenses of 
the service. 

Church accommodation again became inadequate to the increasing 
population (for since the church was built, it had grown from 2359 to 
3552), so the committee resolved, at a meeting held the 21st December, 
1848, that they should proceed forthwith to erect galleries. They soon, 
through their treasurer, entered into a contract with Messrs. Lucas, 
builders, to construct galleries in conformity with the plans submitted to 
the vestry by Mr. Brown, the architect, and to have the same completed 
on or before the nth March, 1849, that being the anniversary of the 
opening of the new church. 

The new organ, by Bishop, was opened by Dr. Wesley, on the 15 th 
August, 1850. 

After the galleries were erected the pew rents* amounted to jC^S^ 
per annum. The church rates being abolished in March, 1869, seriously 
affected the financial position of the parish church, and it became the 
duty of the churchwardens to consider what course should be taken to 
equalize the income and expenditure. The following statement was laid 
before the parishioners and congregation, viz. : — Interest on debt of 
;^f 950, ;^9o ; fixed payment to Rector ^^o ; evening service jQ^o ; 
income tax, choir, and incidental expenses ;£6o ; and to meet ordinary 
expenses of the church ;^4oo. Total ;£6^o. 

Under these circumstances the churchwardens recommended, with 
the sanction of the Rector (the Rev. C. Lawrence) and the approval of 
the church committee, that special offertories should be introduced for 
the purpose of defraying the expenses connected with the celebration of 
divine worship, and the necessary maintenance of the fabric. 

In the following year, considerable internal alterations were done, in 
building a vestry on the south side of the altar ; removing the organ 
from the west gallery to the north side of the altar ;. removing the 
reredos, and opening the north and south- doors ; also re-painting the 
whole of the church, and placing choir seats in the chancel, and lighting 
with gas. A new font and communion table were also added. The 
total cost was ;^i569 iis. The church was re-opened for divine 
service on Sunday, i8th December, 1870. 

The best and most serviceable re-arrangement of the parish church, 
however, was that in 1876, when the galleries were removed. These 
galleries never were a part of the church when built ; and loud were the 
protests of many of the seat-holders when they were erected. The vestry 
was now utilized as a chapel, in providing further accommodation for 
worshippers. The three chancel arches were rebuilt ; the roof of the 
chancel groined in stone ; and the flooring of the same paved through- 



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AlJD ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 45 

out With Minton's tiles. No sooner was the work of re-arrangement 
commenced, than special gifts and subscriptions flowed in in a re- 
markable manner, to carry out the desired improvements. 

Amongst the special gifts were a memorial east window, a reredos, 
pulpit, and the oak benches. The subscriptions, including a thank- 
offering of ;^iooo, amounted to ;^47oi 7s. lod. 
' The church committee undertook the expense of rebuilding the 
organ ; the heating and lighting of the church ; and many other works 
which they thought would conduce to the comfort of the congregation. 
The waste space underneath the church was utilized, and converted into 
most useful vestries. The baptistry, at the west entrance, was re- 
arranged, and is now the admiration of every one. A great improvement 
was also made in the building of the north and south porches. 

Great praise is due to the Rector, the Rev. Frederick Henry Law, 
the churchwardens, and committee for their exertions and perseverance 
until the whole work was satisfactorily completed. The church was re- 
opened for divine service on Wednesday, 28th June, 1876. The Lord 
Bishop of the Diocese preached in the morning, and the Lord Bishop 
of Ely in the evening. The offertory was devoted to the restoration 
fund. 

Since these great alterations, several special gifts have been made to 
the church. The whole of the windows on the south side of the body 
of the church have been filled with stained glass ; also two windows on 
the north side. A handsome carved oak cover to the font; and a 
covering to the coils of hot-water pipes, in decorated ironwork, have 
been presented ; also a brass eagle lectern. The walls of the church 
have been chastely coloured, giving a warm and bright appearance to 
the whole. 

During the past summer nearly the whole of the exteripr of the 
church has been newly cemented ; a work rendered necessary by forty 
years' exposure to all weathers, and especially the severe frost of last 
winter. 

The offertories at St. Margaret's amount to a good sum during the 
year. From Easter 1878 to Easter 1879, t^^ ten special offertories 
alone amounted to j^S^S ^^s. 3d. ; and in the year following, the six 
offertories reached ;^323 i8s. 8d Those for the sick^and poor, during 
the same year amounted to over;^i84. Also a subscription, generously 
raised as a testimony to the worth and value of our late Parish Clerk, 
John Faulkner, for the benefit of his widow and children, reached the 
handsome amount of jC^IS- 

Connected with the parish church is a well-organized District Visiting 
Society, Needlework Society, Clothing, Coal, and other clubs. These 
and other societies, clubs, penny bank, and library are held at St. Mar- 
garet's House, Old-road, under the presidency of the Rector, the Rev. F. 
H. Law, or of the Lady Adelaide Law ; who have the generous assist- 
ance of a staff of ladies and gentlemen in carrying on these good works. 

Christ Church, Lee Park. ^ 

The first corner stone of this edifice was laid 3rd September, 1853, 
by the Rev. George Lock, Rector ; it being the fiftieth anniversary of 
his holding the living of Lee. This church was erected as a testimonial 
from his parishioners to the zeal and fidelity with which he had declared 
the whole counsel of God, and preached the word of His grace amongst 
them. 



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46 HISTORY OF LEE 

In order to promote the building of Christ Church, an influential 
committee was appointed, on February 19th, 1853, the Rev. G. Lock, 
chairman ; Colonel B. Smith, deputy chairman ; Chamberlain Hinchliff 
and John Sutton, Esqrs., joint treasurers : Rev. W. F. Sims, M.A., hon. 
secretary; when the sum of ;^io37 i6s. was subscribed in the vestry- 
room. Great praise is due to the committee and hon. secretary for the 
zeal and perseverance in obtaining subscriptions towards the building 
fund, which amounted to ;£tS6^ os. 9d., generously and universally 
raised as a testimony of the work of a minister, whose popularity and 
kindness caused his parishioners to build another church, and to leave 
at the same time for our children's children, and for the future in- 
habitants of this parish, a memcwrial to tell them that this church was 
erected for Christ's service and ministry. 

The living is in the gift of the Rector, and was presented to the 
Rev. W. F. Sims, M.A., who had been Curate at the parish church for 
some years previously. The rev. gentleman is still the Vicar of Christ 
Church. 

The church was consecrated by Bloomfield, Bishop of London, on 
the I St August, 1854, and opened for public worship on the 3rd Septem- 
ber, the first anniversary of the jubilee, and fifty-first of Mr. Lock's 
incumbency as Rector of Lee. 

After the space of ten years this church became inadequate to the 
wants of the occupiers of the numerous villa residences of the surround- 
ing neighbourhood, so it was found necessary to extend the whole of the 
west end of the church, by re-arranging the pews and seats and making 
better provision for tl^e poor and children of the schools, and, by this 
alteration, an additional 210 sittings were obtained. A new organ was 
erected, at a cost of ;£^45o ; also stained glass was inserted in eight 
windows, at a cost of jQt 00. 

A meeting of the committee was held at the Vicar's house, on the 
7th July, 1874, for the completion of the tower and spire; it was resolved 
to solicit subscriptions for this object, and, by the list published 13th 
June, 1876, the total amount collected was ;^i58o. The tower and 
spire were completed, also a new wall and railing erected, at a cost 

of ;^400- 

Holy Trinity Church. 

This church, near to Belgrave-villas, leading from the High-road, 
accommodating about 900 persons, was the next church built for the 
spiritual wants of the parish. The first stone was laid by Lewis Glenton, 
Esq., of The Pagoda (at the rear of Haddo-villas), Blackheath. The 
church living was presented by him, in the year 1863, to the Rev. 
Benjamin Walter Bucke, M.A., of King's College, London, and St 
John's College, Cambridge, who is a very popular preacher. 

' ^ St. Mildred's Church, South Lee. 

Early in the year 1877, the Rector of Lee informed the inhabitants 
of South Lee that the Earl of Northbrook had decided to have a large 
new church for that district, and, in order that the good work should 
have a fair start, his lordship had liberally offered a site and the sum of 
;^2ooo as a nucleus for the building fund. This donation was soon 
followed by others ; the Rev. F. W. Helder, the Vicar designate, sub- 
scribed ;;^ioo at once, which he afterwards increased to jQ2$o ; this was 
followed by a similar amount from an unknown friend, per the Rector 
of Lee. 



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AKD UPS NtlGHBOURHOOfi. 47 

A cOnAmittee wag formed to furthei* the good wotk, and during the 
last week in July, 1877, the building was commenced. 

The ceremony of laying the foundation stone was performed by 
Lord Northbrook, July 25th, 1878, in the presence of a very numerous 
gathering of ladies and gentlemen. The inscription on the stone was, 
" To the glory of God, in the faith of the Lord our Saviour, and honour 
of St. Mildred, this dedication stone was laid by the Right Hon. Earl 
Northbrook, July 25th, 1878." A bottle containing coins of the realm 
, and a copy of the Times was placed Under the stone, the service con- 
cluded with the h)nnn " Christ is our corner stone." 

Previous to the consecration Earl Northbrook gave a further ;^5oo. 
. The total cost of the church amounted to about ;£'6ooo. The Com- 
missioners of Woods and Forests testified their approval of the scheme 
by voting a grant of ;^2oo ; Mr. C. A. Ainger, the chairman of the 
committee, Mr. S. Carter, Mr. R. Cooper, Mr. S. Honywill, each gave 
;^ioo. A series of popular entertainments and concerts produced the 
sum of ;^io6 17s. 2d., and several influential gentlemen swelled the 
list by donations of ;^5o each, which, with smaller donations, raised the 
amount to the handsome total of jCS^Sly leaving about ;^8oo to clear 
off the debt. 

Michaelmas Day, 1879, witnessed the consecration of the permanent 
church for the parishioners of this new district, by the Lord Bishop of 
the diocese. His lordship gave a powerful address at the consecration 
service ; and at the evening service a sermon was preached. The offer- 
tories during the day were for the building fund, and amounted to more 
than £gT. 

The church is a' cruciform structure in decorated Norman style, and 
was built by Messrs. G. Coles and Sons, of Croydon, from designs by 
Mr. H. Elliott, of 99, Strand. It is capable of seating 700 people, and 
has a good-sized choir. 

Lord Northbrook has given, in addition to the land for the church, 
a piece of ground as site for a vicarage. 

St. Peter's Church. 

This church was at first a temporary iron building, and formerly 
stood in the parish of Lee, in the rear of Eltham-road, and then in the 
district of Christ Church, Lee-park. In the year 1870, a new district 
was assigned to St. Peter's by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, part 
from Christ Church, Lee, and part from the parish of Eltham. The new 
church of brick and stone was built in St. Peter's-road, Eltham, by 
Messrs. Dove Brothers, from the designs of Messrs. Newman and 
Billing, of Tooley-street, London, and it is a very commodious edifice, 
having seats for about 800 persons. It was consecrated July 13th, 187 1. 

Boone's Almshouse Chapel. 

This chapel is near Lenham-road, Lee Green, and was built in the 
year 1875, i^ place of the ancient one built by Sir Christopher Wren, in 
the year 1683, now standing in front of the Merchant Taylors' Alms- 
houses, directly opposite the west end of the Old-road. The new 
chapel is of red brick, and stands in the centre of the new almshouses, 
which front the High-road, Lee Green, built by the Merchant Taylors' 
Company, being Christopher Boone's trust estate. The Rector of Lee, 
Rev. Frederick Henry Law, is the chaplain. Full service is held here 
on Sundays. 



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48 history of lee 

New Church, Handen Road. 

At the commencement of the present year, 1881, the Rector of Lee, 
announced in a letter to his parishioners, that Lord Northbrook in- 
tended erecting at his own expense, a chapel-of-ease to St. Margaret's 
Church. During the summer the building has been erected at the 
bottom of Handen-road, Burnt-ash-lane, a part of St. Margaret's parish 
a considerable distance from the church. 

The edifice is a plain, substantial structure of red brick, with tiled 
roof, and neat bell turret. Its position is quite central to a greatly- 
increasing neighbourhood; the houses erected in the roads near it 
having, in twenty months, from 1878 to 1880, risen from no to 220 — 
just doubled. Respecting the church, we quote the following paragraph 
from the Rector's letter : — 

"The Chapel-of-Ease, then, to the Parish Church, which I purpose 
calling * The Church of the Good Shepherd,' is to hold 550 persons, 
all the Sittings are to be unappropriated, so that the poor cannot be 
crowded out from what is more especially their own Church ; and I 
have sufficient faith and confidence in those who will worship there, 
to believe that by their offerings, sufficient will be contributed, not only 
to provide for all necessary expenses of the Services, but also for the 
maintenance of at least one of the Clergy who will be especially in 
charge of it." 

The Congregational Chapel, near the Blackheath railway station, 
was built in the year 1855 ; the Rev. J. Shearman, from the Tabernacle, 
Blackfriars-road, was the first minister appointed. 

The Congregational Chapel, in Burnt-ash-lane, near the railway 
station, was built in the year 1874. The Rev. George Critchley, B.A., 
minister. 

The Baptist Chapel, High-road, Lee, near Eastdown-park. The 
Rev. Robert H. Marten, B.A., 53, Blessington-road, minister. There is 
vestry and schoolroom at the rear of the chapel. Many benevolent and 
charitable funds are attached to J:his chapel ; also a maternity society. 

The Baptist Chapel, in Dacre-park, was built in 1852; the Rev. 
Knibb Dexter, minister. There is a communion fund and Dorcas 
society attached to this chapel. 

The Baptist Chapel, Bromley-road^ Burnt-ash-hill, is also open 
for public worship ; and The Bible Christian Chapel, situate next 
to Boone's Almshouses, High-road. 



Boone's Charity. 

A scheme for the regulation and management of this charity was 
settled and approved by the Board of Charity Commissioners for 
England and Wales, the 27th November, 1868, and is as follows : — 
The charity and the funds and endowments thereof are to be managed 
and administered by the Merchant Taylors' Company, as trustees. 
There are to be twelve almspeople, who shall have resided in Lee, 
Lewisham, or Greenwich, for not less than five years next preceding the 
time of election, subject to the qualifications therein required. There 
is to be paid out of the income of the charity to each of the almspeople 
a weekly stipend of los. They are to be nominated and appointed by 
a body of " nominators," consisting of the Rector and Churchwardens 
of the parish of St. Margaret's, Lee, and the respective Vicars of Christ 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 49 

Church, and Holy Trinity, Lee, for the time being, and of seven other 
j>ersons resident in one of the parishes of Lee, Lewisham, or Green- 
wich, to be elected by the vestry of the parish of Lee. The trustees 
are to appoint a medical officer to attend upon the almspeople, at a 
yearly salary not exceeding ;^2o ; also a chaplain, who is to be a clergy- 
man of the Church of England, in priest's orders. The Rector, for the 
time being, of the parish of Lee, if resident therein and willing to 
accept the office of chaplain, is to be preferred by the trustees in making 
any appointment to the office. The chaplain to be paid a yearly stipend 
of not less than ^3^7 5 per annum, and npt more than j£ioo, as they 
shall from time to time determine. The trustees are to pay a yearly 
sum not exceeding ;^i5 for the salary of the clerk at the chapel, who 
is to be appointed by the trustees, at the recommendation of the 
chaplain. The trustees are also to apply a further sum, not exceeding 
j£2^ per annum, in lighting and warming the chapel, and providing the 
requisite furniture, books, etc., and other incidental expenses. 

Out of the remaining yearly income of the charity, after providing 
for the several payments and purposes above mentioned,, the trustees 
are to reserve a yearly sum of ^120, or such other less sum as the 
residuary income shall be sufficient to provide, and invest the same in 
the purchase of consols, the dividends whereof to be accumulated and 
invested in like manner for the formation of a fund to be called " The 
Education Fund," which is to be applicable to educational purposes, 
for the benefit of the parish of Lee and the adjoining parishes or 
districts, according to a further scheme to be hereafter established by 
the order of the Charity Commissioners, upon the application of the 
trustees. The residue (if any) of the yearly income of the charity is to 
be reserved and invested by the trustees in like manner, as a residuary 
fund, and to be applicable in furtherance of the objects of the founda- 
tion, according to the provisions of a similar schema to be established 
in like manner by the order of the Commissioners. If any doubt or 
question arise as to the construction of the scheme or the management 
of the charity, application is to be made to the Charity Commissioners 
for their opinion and advice, which, when given, is to be conclusive. 

Queen Elizabeth's College. 

This charity was founded by William Lambard, of Lincoln's-inn, in 
the county of Middlesex, gentleman, in 1578. A scheme for the man- 
agement and regulation of the College, and for the application of the 
income thereof, was settled and approved by the Court of Chancery on 
the 5th August, 1856. 

The Drapers' Company are the governors of the college, which is 
situate in London-street, Greenwich, immediately opposite the South- 
Eastern railway station. Under the scheme two almspeople are to be 
elected from Lee, chosen by the Rector and Churchwardens, Sidesmen, 
Overseers of the Poor, and Constable. The elections are to take place 
in the parisb church or vestry, upon the Sunday next, or next but one, 
after notice received from the college of a place being vacant : . the 
election to be conducted in accordance with the ordinances and statutes 
annexed to the scheme. The stipends of the almspeople are j£2j a 
year, payable in monthly sums of ^2 5 s. for each person. In the event 
of the election of a married person, having the qualification required, 
the husband or wife, as the case may be, is also to be admitted to the 

4 



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$0 HISTORY OF LEE 

college ; but the elected is to receive monthly pension as a single person 
only. The college is under the supervision of a warden or matron and 
chaplain. 

Hatcliffe's Charity. 

This charity was founded by the will of William Hatcliffe, dated 
15th May, 1620, for the benefit of the poor of the several parishes of 
Greenwich, Lee, and Lewisham. A scheme for the management of this • 
charity, and for the application of the income thereof, was settled and 
' approved by the Court of Chancery, on the 4th July, 1857. 

The real estates belonging to the charity are situate at East Green- 
wich, and are vested in a body of feoffees under the scheme. The net 
annual income of the charity is divisible into four equal parts, two of 
which go to Greenwich, one to Lee, and one to Lewisham. The aver- 
age amount of a fourth part is ;£^2oo. The managers of the Lee portion 
of the charity are the three feoffees, the Rector and Churchwardens of 
St. Margaret's, the Vicar and Churchwardens of Christ Church ; and 
such portion is, under the scheme, to be applied as follows : — 

First. In the establishing in Lee of an adult evening school for 
boys, aged fourteen and upwards, being sons or relatives of householders 
or residents in Lee, and which school is to be under the superintendence 
of a master, subject to the direction and control of the managers ; the 
master's salary not to be less than ;^2o nor more than ^^40 per annum ; 
the head-money to be fixed by the managers from time to time, and not 
to exceed threepence a week, one-third of which is to be paid to the 
master, in addition to his salary, the remaining two-thirds to go towards 
the current expenses of the school. The education to comprise reading, 
writing, and arithmetic, English history, geography, grammar, and a 
general knowledge of the text of the Bible, and of common subjects. 
The managers are to apply a sum not exceeding ^^ 15 a year towards 
lighting and other expenses of the school, and for the purchase of books, 
stationery, etc., to be furnished to the boys either free or at a diminished 
cost. 

Secondly. In providing twelve scholarships, tenable for .three years 
each, two boys and one girl being elected every year. No candidate 
to be under thirteen nor above sixteen ; and to be boys and girls from 
the Lee National Schools, having certain qualifications mentioned in 
the scheme. The examination for the scholarships is to be conducted 
from time to time as the managers shall appoint ; but no examination is 
to be deemed sufficient in the absence of a certificate of the candidates 
having passed a competent examination in Holy Scripture, and of regu- 
lar attendance at public worship. The successful candidates are to be 
entitled to receive the following prizes, viz. : in the first year, the best 
candidate ;£^io, the next best ^2 ; and in each of the two remaining 
years ;£^ each respectively. The sums to be paid in respect of such 
scholarships to be applied by the managers for the benefit of the 
scholars. At the completion of every year the scholars are to produce 
to the managers certificates of general good behaviour during the past 
year. 

Thirdly. In applying any sum not exceeding ;^2o in any one year 
in aid of the existing Infant School at Lee. 

Fourthly. In applying any sum not exceeding ;^3o in any one 
year in payments of 30s. apiece to poor men and women, residents in 
Lee, and qualified as set forth in the scheme. 



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AND Its NEIGHBOURHOOD. 5 1 

Fifthly. In appointing a clerk, at a salary not exceeding j£lo per 
annum, for the duties therein mentioned ; and 

Lastly. The scheme directs that any surplus income, after providing 
for the several purposes before mentioned, is to be invested in the pur- 
chase of Three per Cent, stock, in the names of the trustees of the 
charity ; and the dividends of such stock are to constitute part of the 
ordinary income of the Lee portion of the charity. 

Simeon Shole's Trust. 

Under the directions contained in the will of the late Mr. Simeon 
Shole, of Lee, who died in 1863, ;^ioo consols were purchased in the 
joint names of the Rev. George Lock, Hugh Man Lawrence, Esq., and 
Samuel Herman de Zoete, Esq., the dividends whereof are for the pur- 
pose of keeping the testator's tomb in the churchyard in good condition. 
Any surplus to be applied for the benefit of the poor of Lee, in such 
manner as the Rector and Churchwardens think fit. 

The Sladen Trust. 

By deed poll, under the hands and seals of Joseph Sladen, Esq., and 
Rev. Edward Mainwaring Sladen, dated 9th January^ 185 7, certain trusts 
are declared of ;^2i9 9s. yd. consols, then standing in their names, 
jointly with the Rev. George Lock, then Rector of Lee, and William 
Sidery, of Lee, builder, as follows, viz. : — " To dispose of and expend 
the dividends : Firstly by setting apart yearly ;^i, or such larger sum as 
may be found necessary, for keeping in good order the family vault and 
tomb of Joseph Sladen, Esq., and secondly, by handing over the residue 
.of the dividends unto the Minister and Churchwardens of the Parish 
Church of St. Margaret's, Lee, to be by them distributed yearly, about 
Christmas, in such manner, either in money or food or clothing, as to 
them shall seem meet in their absolute discretion, among a certain 
number of deserving poor who have been in the parish five years, not 
being under sixty years of age and not recipients of HatcHffe's Charity. 
But no one to receive, either in money or value, less than 5 s. or more 
than I OS. No distribution to be made unless an audit of the accounts 
of the Trust shall have been held at the- ordinary Easter Vestry every 
third year, and the Vestry be satisfied that the provisions for the pre- 
servation of the family vault and tomb shall have been fully obgerved." 

"Lampe Meade." 

William Hatcliffe, the founder of "Hatcliffe's Charity," by his will, 
gave and bequeathed " one little piece or parcel of land in Lee, in the 
county of Kent, called Lampe Meade," to the parish church for ever. 
Under the provisions of the New Parish Church Act, i & 2 Vic, this 
piece of land was sold, and the proceeds invested in the purchase of 
;^233 6s. 8d. consols, whereof the dividends are applicable to the 
repairs of the parish church. 

Lee Soup Kitchen. 

A piece of ground in Church-street, Lee, was demised by indenture, 
dated March, 1856, to the Rev. G. Lock, Chamberlain Hinchliff, Esq., 
and Samuel Herman de Zoete, Esq., for a long term of years, at a 
nominal rent, for the purpose of erecting a building as a soup kitchen, 
where the poor could be supplied with soup during the severest of the 
winter months. The first istribution took place on Tuesday, the 23rd 



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52 ftlSTORV Of LEt 

December, 1856, and was delivered to the holders of tickets, at the ratef 
of one penny per quart, being continued weekly as long as the subscrip- 
tions lasted. After much consideration as to the best means of distri- 
buting the tickets for this charity to the most deserving, the District 
Visiting Societies were decided upon. The subscribers are numerous, 
and the amount collected each season, during the past year or two, has 
reached nearly j£go. 

Under the will of the Rev. Abraham Colfe, bread was formerly dis- 
tributed in the parish church every Sunday in the year, purchased from 
funds vested in the Leathersellers' Company, producing the sum of 
8s. 4d. annually. It was afterwards distributed in small loaves at the 
soup kitchen in the winter months. 



In the month of January, 1 861, in consequence of the continued 
severity of the weather, and an almost cessation of out-door work, there 
arose a large number of cases of distress. To cope with this, a commit- 
tee was formed, consisting of the parochial Clergy, the Churchwardens 
and Overseers of Lee, and twelve other gentlemen, who appealed for 
subscriptions, which were immediately forthcoming. The committee 
proceeded to investigate and relieve a large number of cases of distress, 
and distributed in all, during the sharp weather, 1157 quartern loaves 
and 74 half-sacks of coals. 

On the 26th of January the impediment to out-door work ceased, 
and the committee felt bound to withold further expenditure from this 
fund, unless, or until, a renewal of this weather should occur. The total 
contributions to the fund amounted to ;^ 141 i8s. 6d^, and the expendi- 
ture to ;^52 4s. 3d., leaving a balance of ;^89 14s. 3d., which 'the con- 
tributors, after a copy of the accounts was forwarded them, desired 
should be paid to the treasurers of the District Visiting Society and the 
School Building Fund. 




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CHAPTER y. 

The Schools in Lee and Neighbourhood — The Colfe Grammar School, Lewisham — 
School in Eltham Church Tower, and the new one built in 1816 — Dame Schools 
in Lee — Lee National Schools : their enlargement — Infant Schools — Hedgeley 
Street Schools — Boone Street School — Board Schools, Bromley Road — Lee 
Working Men's Institution — Lee and Blackheath Horticultural Society — The 
Disastrous Floods of 1878 — The Lewisham Union of Parishes. 

I EXT in importance to the making provision for the spiritual 
wants of the present generation, we must certainly place the 
solicitude that has been shown for the education of the young 
of all classes. Less than a century ago, education was far from being 
considered necessary, even among well-to-do people ; but its importance 
having been once recognized, rapid progress has been made, and at the 
present time provision is made for the education of every child in the 
kingdom. The oldest school in this neighbourhood is 

The Colfe Grammar SckooL, Lewisham. 

This charity was founded by the Rev. Abraham Colfe, Vicar of 
Lewisham, in the year 1652, for the maintenance of the free ^ammar 
schools and almshouses at Lewisham. A scheme for the management 
of the estates, and the application of the income thereof, and for the 
government of the said schools and almshouses, was settled and ap- 
proved by the Court of Chancery, in the month of July, 1857. The 
Leathersellers' Company are the owners and governors of the charity 
property, and are to manage the same, and apply the income according 
to the scheme. 

The scheme provides for the election of thirty-one foundation 
scholars to the grammar school, in addition to the sons of the Incum- 
bents of the several parishes of Greenwich, Deptford, Lewisham, Lee, 
Charlton, Woolwich, and Chislehurst, each of whom is to have the 
privilege of sending one son at a time, to be considered in all respects 
as a boy on the foundation. The thirty-one foundation scholars are to 
be selected from the several parishes, and in the several proportions as 
follows, viz. : — from Greenwich, ten ; Deptford, eight ; Lewisham, five ; 
Lee, one ; Charlton and Kidbrook, one; Woolwich, three; Eltham and 
Mottingham, three ; and such selection is to be made by the said 
several parishes respectively in vestry-meeting to be called specially for 
that purpose. In the event of any parish failing to elect for the space 
of six weeks after notice given by the governors, such governors are to 
be at liberty to elect as therein mentioned. The boys to be seven years 
of age or upwards, to be of good character, and able to read and write ; 
no scholar to remain in the school after the age of eighteen. 

The instruction afforded is to be in the principles of the Christian 
religion, according to the doctrines of the Church of England ; the 
Greek, Latin, and French languages ; literature and composition ; sacred 
and profane history ; geography ; and such other branches of education 

4—2 



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54 HISTORY OF LEE 

as the governors may from time to time deem expedient The head 
master is to be paid for every foundation scholar the following quarterly 
sums, viz. : — for every boy under ten, 5 s. a quarter ; and for every boy 
above ten, los. a quarter. Suitable prayers, taken from the liturgy of 
the Church of England, are to be read every morning and evening, and 
other religious instruction given at such times as the head master shall 
think best, by reading and explaining the scriptures and liturgy of the 
Church of England. The school to be open to children of parents of 
all religious tenets, and no boy to be required to learn the catechism of 
the Church of England, or attend the reading of prayers if his parents 
shall express in writing that they have conscientious objections to his 
doing so. 

There is to be an annual examination of the boys at the school, and 
the owners and governors are to appoint some fit and proper person, 
being a graduate of one of the universites of Oxford, Cambridge, Dur- 
ham, or London, to conduct such examination. The period of such is 
to be fixed by the owners and governors, and is to take place in the 
presence of the visiting committee (nominated by them for that purpose), 
and the master of the school, and of such other persons as the owners 
and governors m2,y invite to attend the same. The owners and govern- 
ors are yearly, after such examination, to distribute such and so many 
prizes, not exceeding in value ^^9, as they think fit, to meritorious 
scholars educated in the school, who shall distinguish themselves for 
learning or good conduct, and who, in the judgment of the examiner 
and visiting committee, shall be the most deserving. 

The owners and governors are, out of the income of the charity, to 
apply the annual sum of ;^4o, in the maintenance and support at either 
of the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Durham, or London, of one 
scholar, chosen in the first instance from among those who have been 
admitted to the school on the foundation, and who shall have been 
educated three years in the school prior to the time of the examination. 

This school was a great boon to the farmers and tradesmen of the 
various parishes in the neighbourhood who had the privilege of sending 
one boy to be placed on the foundation, as there was no other school to 
send their sons to be properly educated until within the past half-century. 
Usually some old decayed tradesman would speculate in getting up an 
establishment as a boys' school, but they were very defective, and the 
scholars generally very unruly in and out of school. 

Boys from Lee, and the surrounding villages, went to a school of 
this description, kept by an old tradesman by the name of Webb, in the 
tower of old Eltham Church, until the year 181 6, in which year the 
gentlemen of Eltham, with their Vicar, the Rev. John Kennard Shaw 
Brooke, resolved to build a new school house, in Pound-place, at the 
upper end of the village, on the Lancaster and Bell's system, which was 
a boon to the children of the poor of the villages, who were first taught 
to write on sand, shaken in wooden trays made for that purpose. Learn- 
ing amongst the lower orders at that time was in a very bad state. 

Lee National Schools. 

In the beginning of the present century there were only what were 
called " dame schools " in Lee — one in the old almshouses, next the 
chapel, kept by Mrs. Wooderson ; also one near Lee-bridge, kept by 
Mrs. Groves, an ancient dame, who taught the rough element of boys 
and girls to the best of her ability. Although there was a variety of 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. J J 

scholars, tradesmen and other respectable families were glad to avail 
themselves of any teaching for their children. 

New buildings, at length, were fast increasing in various parts of the 
parish, and in the year 1838, it was found necessary to proceed without 
delay to raise a fund for the purpose of building the National Schools 
in Lee. A committee was formed to carry out the desired object, to 
solicit subscriptions and donations to the building fund. The parish- 
ioners subscribed the handsome sum of ;£6^g 14s. 4d., and a fancy 
fair was held in the grounds of the new Proprietary School, Lee-park, 
which realised ;£^694 6s. 4d., and the committee immediately purchased 
the land and built the schools. The land cost ^^348 8s. 6d. The 
contract was taken by Mr. W. Sidery, of Lee, for the sum of ;^8oo. 
The whoje was completed by July, 1839, and opened by Lady Baring. 
The Lord Bishop of Rochester was present, and was highly pleased to 
meet the committee and the gentry of the neighbourhood. After prayers 
were offered up the proceedings terminated, and the children were 
regaled with tea, plum cake, and oranges, to the delight of the numerous 
visitors. All joined heartily in singing the National Anthem at the 
conclusion of a happy day. 

At the commencement of these schools, many children were literally 
called in from the streets ; at this time Lee was an agricultural parish, 
and the farmers employed many families with children that could work. 
Little care was taken to teach them, except on Sundays. At the middle 
of the last century, two churchwardens of St. Margaret's Church signed 
the books with a X, and, within the present century, many of the trades- 
men could not write their own name until these schools were established ; 
hence a deal of the jealousy amongst the farmers and middle classes 
existed in teaching the poor in Lee. 

These schools require a large amount of money annually to keep 
them in thorough working order. To accomplish that object the Rev. 
George Lock set the example by placing his name on the list of annual 
subscribers for ;^io; five other gentlemen followed his example for a 
like sum, and many others for various amounts. Sermons were preached 
in St. Margaret's Church, on various occasions, when the funds fell short 
of the expenses incurred. One was preached, in 1846, by the Bishop 
of Hereford* for the enlargement of the schools, and the collections 
realized ;^7o los. ; another, by Bishop Smith, of Victoria, when 
;^72 5s. was given. 

In consequence of the rapid increase of the poorer population, it 
became necessary to enlarge both s hools. A subscription was set on 
foot in order to aid the building fund, and the amount needed to carry 
out the proposed work was fully realized. The plan adopted by the 
committee for the enlargement, was the taking out of one end of both 
schools and joining them together, and building a room for the boys at 
the east end of the present building. This was done, under the super- 
vision of an architect and authority of the district surveyor, as required 
by the Act, by Mr. W. Sidery, of Lee, for the sum of ;^422 i8s. 6d., 
including architect and surveyor's charges, and the school re-opened in 
January, 1847. 

The general view of the school work was now in a complete state, 
and the attendance of the boys and girls was most satisfactory under 
the local action of the clergy and laity. Many children that formerly 
ran the streets in a deplorable state were reclaimed into these schools, 
which were the means of restoring them as useful members of society. 



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56 '"^ HISTORY Of LEE 

. Many of these boys are now respectable tradesmen and clerks, holding 
responsible situations of trust, and have been the practical means of 
improving the morals and bringing up their own children in the like 
manner. Some of the first boys who attended these schools are now 
honourable grandfathers to the rising generation. These schools have 
always had a most excellent master and mistress to conduct them. 

When the Elementary Education Act of 1870 came into force, it 
became necessary to enlarge the present schools with class-rooms. To 
meet the requirements of the Council of Education, and Her Majesty's 
Inspector of Schools, the committee had to provide funds for the en- 
largement of both the boys and girls' schools, for the accommodation of 
250 children. The clergy and laity of each district had to exert them- 
selves in obtaining donations sufficient for that purpose ; and an appeal 
was made to those who, by ties of property, are connected with the 
neighbourhood ; also to the occupiers of genteel houses in various parts 
of the parish. The result of such application was that donations were 
received, in 1,876, amounting to ^^597. During the summer the ad- 
ditional buildings were erected, at a cost of ;£6^g i6s. 5d. > the balance 
was made up by the liberality of twelve gentlemen. 

There is also an Infant School in Church-street, Lee, built in 1834, 
by the late Lady Gertrude Proby. The trustees were the Rector of 
Lee and the Rev. Joseph Fenn ; the .last-named gentleman held office 
from the time of its formation until the time of his lamented death, in 
1878. This school is also under the supervision of Her Majesty's 
Inspector of Schools, who reported, in his examination of 1878, as 
follows : — *' This school is going on well." There being eighty-one boys 
and sixty-nine girls, the government grant for the present year amounted 
to ;£93 I2S. The committee were glad to learn that a late pupil teacher 
had passed as Queen's Scholar in the first class, in the examination held 
in May, at the Home and Colonial Training College. 

Hedgley Street School. 

There is also an Infant School in Hedgley-street, Lee-green. The 
first stone of this school was laid in July, 1870, by Mrs. Lawrence, wife 
of the Rector, in the presence of a small assembly. The land for the 
erection of the school was given by Lord Northbrook, -in order to 
provide a want daily increasing for the children of the poor of that 
neighbourhood, and the rapid increase of building whole streets of new 
houses for the artizan classes. 

A committee was formed to carry out this desirable object, with Earl 
Northbrook as patron; the Rector, chairman; the churchwardens of 
St. Margaret's and many other influential gentlemen of the parish, com- 
posed the committee; hon. secretary and treasurer, F. Cleeve, Esq., C.B. 

This was formerly a purely agricultural district, and the children 
were literally running the streets. After the building and opening the 
school, it required great firmness in order to cure their rough manners, 
which, after a few months, was accomplished, by great perseverance on 
the part of the mistress and teachers, much to the satisfaction of the 
managing committee, and Her Majesty's Inspector of Schools, up to 
the 'present year, 1881. 

The number of children who attend the school has increased to 
150, and the committee have had to enlarge the building by adding a 
class-room, capable of accommodating fifty children, to keep pace with 
the growth of the population of the district Her Majesty's Inspector 



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AND Its NEIGHBOURHOOD. 57 

reported: "A good year's work has been done." Also, the Diocesan 
Inspector examined the infants in religious knowledge, and reported : 
" Old Testament, very promising ; New Testament, very promising ; 
repetition, good. The mistress possesses the art of securing the atten- 
tion of the children, which is the first requisite for effective teaching ; 
the very little ones making a beginning. — F. J. Woodhouse, Diocesan 
Inspector." 

The British School, in Boone-street, Lee, has been for some years 
most successfully conducted under a certificated master. 

Board Schools, Bromley Road. 

In addition to the above schools, there are the Board Schools, 
Bromley-road, St. Mildred's district. South Lee, where is the roughest 
element of children to be taught and brought into a satisfactory state of 
discipline required by the committee and managers of these schools. 
The parents reside chiefly in Summerfield-street, and there are several 
occupants in each house, mostly labourers employed in brickfields and 
sewer works, or by builders, who employ a great number of these people. 

Lee Working Men's Institution. 

The first effort to found this Institution was made in September, 
1854, and the following gentlemen comprised the first committee meet- 
ing : Mr. G. Bennett, Mr. G. Lee, Mr. T. Jenner, Mr. P. Saville, Mr. 
Dallimore, Mr. H. J. Nettlefold, Mr. F. H. Hart, Mr. T. Riley, and 
Mr. Mote. The original Institution was formerly held in a small room, 
in Boone-street. Shortly afterwards, the committee obtained from Mr. 
Jenner the possession of a disused Wesleyan chapel adjoining ; where a 
Mr. Chapman lectured on Sundays. On Sunday, 6th August, 1854, a 
venerable preacher, 108 years of age, by the name of Fletcher, from 
Poplar, gave a lecture in connection with the third anniversary of the 
chapel ; and on the following Monday, at Manor Farm, the same lecturer 
made some interesting statements respecting the Indian and Peninsular 
Wars, in which he served, under Field Marshal Duke. of Wellington. 

The permanent establishment of the society was mainly due to T. 
Brandram, Esq., and to the interest taken by J. Meadows White, Esq., 
who became its first president. In the following year, 1835, however, 
Mr. White and family left the parish, and his retirement from the presi- 
dency was a great loss to the society. Mr. F. J. Turner was elected to 
fill the vacancy, and has remained in the office ever since. Mr. T. 
Jenner was the first treasurer; after his death Mr. Robert Prowse took 
the office; he being succeeded by the present treasurer, Mr. Henry 
Couchman. Mr. Dallimore was the first secretary, assisted by Mr. H. 
J. Nettlefold, who, since December, 1854, has solely performed the 
duties of that office. Among those who early patronized the Institution 
was Dr. W. Carr, F. Wickings Smith, Esq., the Rev. W. F. Sims, Vicar 
of Christ Church, and many others. 

In consequence of the increase of houses and population of the 
neighbourhood, and the growing wants of the various benefit societies 
connected with the Institution, more accommodation was absolutely 
necessary. An effort for supplying the need was made by purchasing a 
piece of freehold land in the Old-road, in order to erect a new and 
permanent Institution. The money required to carry out this object 
was chiefly obtained from the produce of three bazaars, which amounted 
to ;^735 I OS., with the addition of very handsome contributions from 



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5$ filSTORY 6P LEfi 

the gentry of the neighbourhood. Having obtained sufficient funds td 
commence a permanent building, plans were submitted to the committee 
for the erection of the Institution in the Old-road. Mr. G. F. Havell, 
builder, High-road, Lee, entered into a contract to build and complete 
the same for ^^1171 ; the building to be finished and ready for the 
accommodation of the members at Michaelmas, 1877. Great exertions 
were made to attain that object by Mr. Henry Couchman, who superin- 
tended the erection with great perseverence and^kill, for the benefit of 
the Institution. 

It was opened October, 1877. It has a fine large assembly room, 
for lectures and concerts ; and reading rooms, which are open all day. 
There are the attractions of a library, bagatelle board, &c. In the 
winter months penny readings are held. The Institution has also 
affiliated to it a large benefit club, for men and women, numbering 500 
members ; also a coal club. 

Lee and Blackheath Horticultural Society. 

In the year 1867 a project was set on foot of forming a gardeners' 
society by a few members of the committee of the Lee Working Men's 
Institution, and the Lee and Blackheath Horticultural Society was 
formed, and was at once taken in hand by the late Dr. Carr, who became 
president, and Mr. F. H. Hart, who was appointed treasurer. Owing 
chiefly to the exertions of these two gentlemen, and the great kindness 
' of the late John Penn, Esq., C.E., who for many years allowed the 
exhibition to be held in his grounds, at The Cedars (and since continued 
by Mrs. Penn) the society has progressed in an admirable manner, and 
obtained the reputation of being second to none of the suburban shows. 
Since its formation it has given ;£ioo3 6s. 6d. in prizes, and is alto- 
gether in a flourishing condition, having 450 members, and is still adding 
new ones. The year 1879 was the most successful exhibition, and 
financially was a greater succsss than any held previously ; but as the 
society cannot reckon on such good fortune every year, they still appeal 
to their friends for annual support, as the current expenses increase 
according to the number of exhibitors and prize-takers, and extra tent 
room required. The general committee of management is conducted 
with the greatest economy. 

The society sustained a very great loss in the death of their late 
president, Dr. Carr, March 22nd, 1877, to whose active exertions the 
society owes mainly its present useful position, he having always 
endeared himself to all, by his earnest interest in the society's welfare, 
and was the means by which the late Emperor and Empress of the 
French patronized the exhibition, at The Cedars, in June, 1872, who 
expressed themselves so highly gratified at the sight of the noble trees 
in the grounds, and the exhibition of plants and fruit. In order to keep 
in remembrance the interest that the late president took for the welfare 
of the society, Mrs. Carr, his widow, presents annually a valuable 
Bible to the gardener who can arrange a group of plants for the best 
floral effect, also one to the cottager tiiat produces the best collection of 
vegetables. And John Penn, Esq., on being elected president, in 1877, 
gave a silver challenge cup, to be presented in memory of the late 
president, to be held by the winner of the largest amount of prizes in 
the year. 

The patrons of the society are : — ^The Right Hon, the Earl North- 
brook, G.C.S.I. ; The Right Hon. Lord Penzance; Sir Charles Mills, 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 59 

Bart, M.P. ; Viscount Lewisham, M.P. ; J. G. Talbot, Esq.. M.P. ; H. 
B. Farnall, Esq., C.B. ; W. Angerstein, Esq., D.L. F. H. Hart, treasurer. 

Whilst writing of the Horticultural Society, we must mention that 
Lee and Lewisham were visited with a disastrous inundation, on Thurs- 
day, April nth, 1878, when several of the nurseries sustained serious 
damage to the greenhouses, and stocks of growing plants ; more espe- 
cially at Lee Green and Burnt-ash-lane, among the extensive grounds of 
Mr. B. Mailer and Mr. J. Walton ; also those of Messrs. Gregory and 
Evans, Effingham Nursery. The damage done to the houses in Lee was 
chiefly confined to Robertson-street, where a large hole was made 
through the wall at the west end, in order to let the enormous quantity 
of water escape, and discharge into the Quaggy river in the rear. 
The exceptional rainfall during Wednesday night and Thursday, loth 
and nth April, was to the extent of three inches. A large surface of 
land, that previously was meadows, which absorbed and held in check a 
large quantity of rain, which now runs into the roads and streets, where 
are impervious pavements of asphalte, causing a large proportion of the 
rainfall to find its way into the sewers and houses of the lower district of 
Lee and Lewisham ; and the rivers and sewers are not of sufficient 
capacity or depth to contain or carry off such exceptional rainfalls as 
these. 

At St. Stephen's district, Lewisham, 400 houses were inundated, and 
seventy-nine at Ladywell. The iron girder bridge crossing the Ravens- 
bourne, near Lewisham Railway Station, was washed down, and green- 
houses at the rear of the Plough Hotel were nearly destroyed with their 
contents. The torrent threw down the wall on the west side of Lewisham 
Bridge, near Mr. Horton's timber yard, and did considerable damage, 
rushing over the roadway, carrying bricks 100 yards down the road, and 
inundating the basements of several streets of small houses ; also the 
brick bridge which crosses the Quaggy, in the rear of Lee Chajjel, was 
washed down. All the houses in Weardale-road and Hamilton-terrace 
had the basements inundated with three feet of water, also those in 
Albion-place and Elm-place, Lee Bridge. Boats were rowed down the 
whole way to the Plough bridge. 

The injury to, and destruction of, stock belonging to various trades- 
men must have been enormous. Business was almost suspended. 
Reports say a rainfall to this extent is rare, as, including this, there have 
been but five instances in which more than two inches of rain have 
been recorded at Greenwich Observatory in one day since 1815 ; that 
in the present instance, was nearly three inches at Greenwich. The 
sewage, on this occasion, not only came up the drains of the houses, 
but rushed out of the man-holes on the side of the roads and footways, 
from Eltham-road to Lee Bridge. 

. On Friday, 12th April, 1878, a meeting of the leading inhabitants 
and clergy of the districts of Lee, Lewisham, Blackheath, and Catford, 
all affected by the overflow of the rivers Quaggy and Ravensbourne, was 
held at the Plough tavern, Lewisham, Mr. Caffin, Churchwarden of St. 
Stephen's, Lewisham, in the chair, to consider the best means of relieving 
the poor whose houses had been inundated, and replacing lost property. 
The meeting, which was a crowded one, was addressed by the Rev. R. 
R. Bristow, St. Stephen's, Lewisham ; the Rev. F. H. Law, Rector of 
Lee: the Rev. B. W. Bucke, Holy Trinity, Lee; Capt. Poole ; J. R. 
Lloydy Esq., representative of the district at the Metropolitan Board of 



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6o HISTORY OF LEE 

Works ; and many others ; and a committee was appointed to distribute 
the fund to be raised, principally in coals for drying the houses. 

The clergy of all denominations and their officers were included in 
the committee ; and they were to be requested to allow collections for 
the distressed in their churches. The trustees of Lewisham parochial 
charities wrote that they were prepared to subscribe ;£^i5o ; about that 
amount was promised at the meeting: and ;£ioo in donations was 
received in the room. 

Cheques for ;^5o for the Lady well and Catford district; ;^i2o for 
St. Mark's and St. Stephen's districts ; and j^^o for Lee, were drawn 
at once, in order to commence giving relief on Saturday morning. The 
same evening a committee meeting was held, with the same object, at 
the Baths and Wash-houses, when about ;£2oo was subscribed or 
promised, and 200 sacks of coals directed to be distributed on the 
following day. 

The Lee and Lewisham Inundation Fund being closed, the treasurers, 
Messrs, Edward Caffin and William Lockhart, drew up a balance sheet, 
which showed, ;£6i6 is. yd. collected at the several places of worship in 
the neighbourhood; ^^930 is. 8d. from individuals; ^150 from trustees 
of Lewisham Charities; ^£^2 los. from the Worshipful Company of 
Leathersellers;;^26 6s. from Phoenix Gas Company; and ;^ 16 i8s. 6d. 
from collecting boxes; making a total receipt of ;£ 179 2 6s. 9d. Of 
this amount, ^1321 los. 9d. had been distributed in the Lewisham 
district; ;^2oi 8s. in Ladywell; ;^i74 6s. in Lee, in addition to ;^5o 
given by the Right Hon. Earl Northbrook to his tenants in Weardale- 
road and Robertson-street; ;£2 4s. 5d. to Eltham; ;^i8 to Greenwich; 
;^io I OS. was given to a fund being raised for the widow of the late 
Mr. Harding, who lost his life through the effects of the floods ; 
;^5i 4s. lod. was expended on disinfectants, and ;^58 2s. 9d. in inci- 
dental expenses, but the utmost impartiality was exercised, and each 
case relieved was investigated by committees of gentlemen of position 
and repute in the neighbourhood. 

The balance sheet certainly speaks well for the careful economy 
with which the committee disbursed the money of the subscribers, 
amongst the large number of persons who were claimants for relief 
The task was not only troublesome and laborious, but a difficult and 
delicate one : and it was scarcely to be expected that they should escape 
censorious criticism, and it is only to be wondered at that there was not 
more grumbling than has been the case. Since the days of the Church 
of Jerusalem, or since the Fall of Man, it has been found impossible to 
satisfy a number of applicants in the distribution of an eleemosynary 
fund, and this case has furnised no exception. As we have said, the 
sum contributed was a very liberal one, but it did not represent one- 
eighth part of the damage done, and was really only intended for the 
relief of those who were most helpless under the misfortune. There 
were a very considerable number of sufferers ill able to bear the loss, 
whose self-respect prevented them from looking for aid for money intended 
only for the destitute. It is a grave fact, that we know nothing of the 
hour when Lee and Lewisham district may be visited with another 
similar or more destructive inundation, and it is to be hoped this re- 
minder may have the effect of stimulating efforts effectually to guard 
against the recurrence of such disasters this fund was meant to mitigate. 

These floods have been from time immemorial, especially in the 
lower district of Lee and Lewisham. After severe storms, now there 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 6t 

iare so many new hard roads and asphalte paths, the whole of the storm 
water rushes in a torrent into the valley of the Quaggy and Ravens- 
bourne, with a mighty roar, carrying with it fences and the very gardens 
from the houses adjacent, and, when the water subsides leave papered 
walls covered with mud and slime, and spoilt carpets and furniture. 

Many incidents might be related of these remarkable floods. Many 
of the suffering poor applied to the Lewisham Union, from the various 
parishes, for medical relief After the waters subsided, the basement 
floors of the small cottages were very damp and unwholesome, so that 
many poor persons had rheumatism and fevers, and several died in 
consequence. 



The formation of the Lewisham Union was in 1836. Until the 
time of Henry VIII. the poor subsisted entirely upon private benevo- 
lence. It was then enjoined that there should be systematic ma intenance 
of the aged poor. In 1601 overseers of the poor were appointed, 
authorizing the erection of poor-houses, and taxing householders with 
a poor's rate. Other statutes followed, which were finally consolidated 
by the Act of 1834, which Act first instituted Poor Law Commissioners, 
who were, in 1847, superseded by Commissioners and a Poor Law 
Board, to whom all powers and duties Of the former body were trans- 
ferred. Inspectors were appointed, and provisions made for the visitation 
of the several Unions. 

. Lewisham Union, in 1836, included Lee, Eltham, Charlton, Plum- 
istead, also the hamlet of Mottingham, and the liberty of Kidbrook. 
The number of poor in Lee was then very small, compared with those 
at the present time, and who are still increasing, owing to so many 
small houses being erected at Lee Green and Bromley-road, for the 
labourers. 

The following is a return of the quarterly abstract, showing the 
number of poor persons who were receiving relief in and out of the 
workhouse, for the quarter^ ending June, 1838 : — Lee parish, four poor 
in the house and twenty-six out, cost of maintenance, j£jS 8s. 7|d. ; 
Lewisham, 321 poor, cost ;^638 is. 2^d. ; Charlton, fifty-four poor, 
cost ;^i37 14s. 5d. ; Eltham, loi poor, cost ;^244 17s. 5d. ; Motting- 
ham three poor, cost;^8 6s. 5d.; Kidbrook, three poor, cost j£^ 5s. 7^d.; 
Plumstead, 102 poor, cost;^2 78 is. i Jd, Total cost for all the parishes, 
^£1390 14s. I id. 

In consequence of a new Union house being erected at Woolwich, 
in the year 1868, the parishes of Plumstead, Charlton, and Kidbrook 
were separated from Lewisham Union and added to Woolwich Union, 
in order that some of the wealthy parishes should be amalgamated with 
the poorer ones in that Union, to sustain part of the heavy burden of 
expenses incurred in the building and establishment charges. Lee and 
the remaining parishes in the Union were sorry to lose their old friends 
the parish of Charlton and Kidbrook who had been associated with them 
so many years in various committees on parochial affairs; but could not 
express so much regret for the severance of the parish of Plumstead, as 
some of the members were, at times, obstructives to any improvement 
deemed necessary for the comfort of the poor and public at large. 
However, the room was much required in the Union house after that 
period ; for pauperism has been very much on the increase year by year, 
in the Lewisham Union, owing chiefly to the rapid increase of the build- 
ing of so many labourers' dwellings in the neighbourhoods of Sydenham, 



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62 flISrORV OF LEK 

Forest Hill, Lee, Eltham, and Mottingham, which has induced a great 
migration of poor from distant parishes, in order to be near their, em- 
ployment. 

The whole area of the Union, as now formed of the parishes of 
Lewisham, Sydenham, Lee, Eltham, and the hamlet of Mottinghanv 
comprises 11,436 acres; its valuation for 1880 stands at gross ;^63i,o34, 
and the net at;£'523,664 rateable value. Population nearly double from 
the last census, when it stood at 51,557 souls; the indoor poor in the 
house, no men, 105 women, and sixteen children, also 147 children 
sent to the Annerley Schools, for the purpose of being instructed in 
various trades and as general servants. 

The following is the cost of provisions and necessaries, comparing 
the year ending Lady-day, 1870, with the year ending Lady-day, 1880 : 

1870, cost of provisions, &c., ;^2402; number of inmates, 199 per day; 
1880^ da do. ;^3262; do. do. 222 do. 

The number of casual vagrant paupars averages about thirty per day. 
On Christmas-day, 1879, there were 232 inmates of the Union, who sat 
down to the very ancient English fare of roast beef and plum pudding, 
provided for dinner, by Mr. James Franklin, the master, and Mrs. 
Mary Salter, matron. One pint of porter, also tobacco and snuff, were 
given to each adult, and oranges, nuts, and other refreshments to the 
children ; for supper, half-pound of plum cake and tea. Lady Jamieson, 
of Lee, sent a supply of letters on behalf of the " Hospital Pillow 
Mission," to be placed as a surprise on the pillow of each inmate on 
awaking on Christmas morning. 




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^^ 


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CHAPTER VI. 




The Village of Charlton — Horn Fair : its Traditional Origin — Charlton House, Pasf 
and Present — The Parish Church — Monuments to the Departed — The Vaults the 
Sepultre of Eminent Men — The Newton Family — The Pedigree of the Wilson 
Family, as published in the ** Proceedings of the Sussex Archaeological Society." 

[HARLTON adjoins Blackheath, and is a pleasant well-built 
village, inhabited by a number of noble and genteel families, 
with beautiful mansions, commanding a fine view of the 
country and Thames. In the time of the Saxon Prince Edw^d, it was 
called Corleton, i.e. the town of husbandmen; or Churl, as it was 
termed in old English. It was valued at ^j. Two brothers, Godwin 
and Alward, held this land from the Saxon Prince as two distinct 
manors. 

Until 1872 there was a fair held here annually on St Luke's Day, 
called Horn Fair, at which rams' horns, and all sorts of useful articles 
and toys made of horn were sold. It formerly consisted of a riotous 
mob, who, after a printed notice was read, dispersed through the towns 
and villages round about, meeting again at a place called Cuckold's- 
point, near Deptford, and marched from thence in procession through 
that town and Greenwich to Charlton, with horns of various kinds 
upon their heads. These assemblies were infamous for rudeness and 
indecency. In the year 1768 this procession was partly discontinued. 
Of the origin of this fair, tradition says : — " That when King John resided 
at Eltham, 600 years ago, a miller, living near Charlton, had a wife who 
was a celebrated toast round the neighbourhood, and the King having 
heard the report of her beauty, determined to convince himself of its 
truth, by paying her a visit ; as he was hunting one day with some of 
his nobility, he took occasion to separate himself from their company, 
and rode immediately to the miller's, where, under pretence of being 
much fatigued, he requested a little refreshment, which was instantly 
complied with by the miller's wife, and who desired him to alight from 
his horse. The miller, supposed to be from home, unexpectedly entered 
his own house at a time when he could convince himself of the king's 
guilt and his wife's unfaithfulness. In the first transports of his 
passion, the miller would have instantly slain the king, had not he 
(the king) immediately discovered himself, and begged his life ; and in 
order to make some reparation for the injury that he had done him, 
he pledged himself to make a grant in the miller's favour, of as much 
land as he could encompass within his sight from the situation where 
he then stood; and the miller at that instant looking towards the 
metropolis, by the water-side, his view was terminated by that point of 
land opposite Limehouse, which is to this day called * Cuckold's-point' " 
Such is the traditional report given us in history; and in memory of 
this grant, Horn Fair was established for the sale of horns and all sorts 
of goods made of that material A sermon also is preached in the 



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64 HISTORY OF LEE 

parish church on the fair day, i8th October. This fair was formerly 
held on the green, in front of Charlton House, before it was enclosed, 
in the year 1819, to make the addition to the lawn in front of the 
ancient entrance gate and noble trees. The fair was much patronised 
by the elite of all the parishes in the neighbourhood, until its removal 
to a field in the lower part of the village ; splendid carriages with whole 
families and livery servants attended on the first day, from 2 to 4 o'clock, 
before the lower order of persons assembled, and many ladies on horses 
with pack saddles or pillions, from whence came a popular rustic song 
as follows : — 

** As I was a riding to Horn Fair, 
So green were the fields and so cold was the air, 
I met a pretty damsel riding on a grey mare ; 
I asked this young damsel for to take me with her : 
* O no, O no, I cannot, sir, although I much deplore, 
For my father he will scold me, and will never let me ride on the grey 
mare any more.' " 

It was the custom at this season of the year, when nature assumed 
a more gloomy appearance, when she had lost her beauty, for the 
gardeners and husbandmen to plant and sow about the autumnal 
equinox, in order to be assured of a happy influence with regard to the 
future prospects of abundant crops ; and it used to be said " Plant out 
your cauliflowers and summer cabbages, sow your seeds, and go to Horn 
Fair." The autumnal warmth having departed, cold weather generally 
prevailed, and early snow storms at times enveloped the gingerbread 
stalls and tents, so much that on 18th October, 181 1, the weight of 
snow caused them to fall on their occupants. Snow fell also in October, 
1820, 1821, 1826, and 1830; as early as 5th October in the last-named 
year. There was a heavy fall of snow, four inches deep, on the 20th 
October, 1880. 

** Fallow, awhile, the fields in mute repose 
Await the sower : but the ringing flail 
Wakes up the echoes with measured blow, 

. And bids the mill revolve with creaking sail. 
Within the forest range the axe again 
Adds many merry cadence to the woodman's strain." — Goldsmith. 

Charlton Church is dedicated to St. Luke ; and was valued in the 
King's books at ;^io 7s. 8d. It was surrendered to the Crown, with 
the Manor of Charlton and the rest of the possessions of the Monastery 
of St. Saviour's, Bermondsey, to King Henry VIII., and has remained 
part of the royal demense. King James I. granted it, with the Manor, 
to Sir Adam Newton, Dean of Durham, and Tutor to the Prince * of 
Wales, in 1607, who built Charlton House in the same reign, and which 
forms a rectangle, with projections at the end of each front, crowned 
with turrets, and an open balustrade going round the summit of the 
whole; the centre projects, and the entrance is ornamented with 
Corinthian columns. The interior of the house is elegantly fitted up, 
the gallery is a spacious apartment, and formerly contained some good 
paintings, chiefly portraits. 

Sir Adam Newton, who designed to have the church enlarged and 
beautified, but died before he could accomplish his intention, left the 
management to his trustees, who most amply fulfilled that trust; for 
they rebuilt the greater part of it, and erected a new steeple, furnishing 
it with a good peal of bells, and decorated it so handsomely, both within 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 65 

and without, that when complete, in the year 1620, it surpassed most 
churches in this part of the country. 

The church contains several handsome monuments, amongst which 
there is, on the south side of the altar, a man in armour, life-size, to the 
memory of the Hon. Brigadier Richards, who was Surveyor General of 
Ordnance, died 1721, aged 48; and, on the north wall, a stately monu- 
ment for Lady Pickering, daughter of Sir John Pickering, and wife of 
Sir Adam Newton, who was afterwards buried near it, in 1629. In the 
vaults below, lies Sir William Congreve, the inventor of the rockets 
which bear his name; he died in 18 14. Also the Right Hon. Spencer 
Perceval, who was assassinated by John Bellingham, in the lobby of the 
House of Commons, on the nth May, 181 2. In the churchyard, close 
by the porch, lies buried Mr. Edward Drummond, who was shot near 
the Houses of Parliament, in January, 1843, ^^ mistake for Sir Robert 
Peel, then Prime Minister, whose private secretary he was. 

The Newtons were of an ancient Cheshire family, who settled in 
Sussex, about the time of Edward IV. Another descendant of that line 
possessed the house and estates of East Mascalls, which numbers Sir 
Isaac Newton among its sires. 

Charlton House came into the occupation of the Wilson family, 
from the Maryons, who became connected with our county; but whose 
ancient settlement was originally at Elton, in Yorkshire, so far back as 
1250; and afterwards at Paxhill, in Sussex, one of those ancient family 
seats, as Camden quaintly called it " A brave building that stood on an 
eminence, commanding a fine view, boldly fronting the west, defying the 
winds which blow from that quarter." It was a prevalent notion in those 
days that the south wind was unkind, viz. : draweth sickness ; the north 
wind, on the contrary, as a friend, maketh all again clear. 

In those buildings at Paxhill was a large lofty hall and kitchen, with 
immense fire places, the most important features in the hall they lived 
in ; and there, with their kinsmen, retainers, and servants, they dined 
and supped, and many of their followers, filled with beef and ale, slept 
upon the rush-strewn floors; as for a comfortable fireside and quiet 
room, they never dreamed of such a thing. They fed the cattle during 
the summer months, so that before winter set in there was a great 
destruction of animals. Tusser says : — 

** At Hallow-tide slaughter time entereth in, 
And then does the Husbandman's feasting begin.'* 

The diet of their poor neighbours in winter was very low. They mostly 
lived on coarse rye bread and salted fish ; the latter being stacked up 
between layers of pea straw for winter use. Tusser says : — 

" Choose skilfully salt fish, not burnt at the stone ; 
Buy such as be good, or else let it alone ; 
Get home what is bought, and go stack it up dry 
With pease-straw between it the better to lie." 

This diet fully accounts for those diseases to which they were subject, 
particularly leprosy, as the. many leper-houses in England were sufficient 
to show. 

Those who could afford it, varied their diet of salt meat as best they 
could, mostly with stews. They had their fishponds, such as present 
themselves as we enter the gate at Paxhill, in which were stored those 
quiet fish, carp and tench. Rabbits were a great resource ; hence, the 
warren was a constant appendage ; pigeons, too, were much depended 

5 



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66 HISTORY OF J.K£ 

upon, and large dovecots of cruciform build, rose near the old mansion^^ 
having no less than 2500 cells for pigeons. Such vast flocks atre a strong 
proof of the importance that was attached to them as an article of food* 

For the following long pedigree of the Wilson family, the writer is 
indebted to the kindness of a friend who has furnished him with a copy 
of the family records, collated from original manuscripts by the late Sir 
Thomas Maryon Wilson, eighth baronet, of Charlton House, for the 
Sussex Archaeological Society. 

Many of this long pedigree of the Wilson family for several years 
were subject to hardships and a chequered life; other members, in 
many instances, were loyal and remarkable for their talent. One of 
the most distinguished of their line was Thomas Wilson, doctor of laws 
of the University of Padua, Master of St Catherine's Hospital, and, 
though a layman, afterwards Dean of Durham, Queen Elizabeth 
selected him as an able man to do her service ;* and sent him, as her 
ambassador, to Mary Queen of Scots, and to the Low Countries ; and 
appointed him one of her Secretaries of State, in which oiiiee, it is said, 
" three things he combined — quick dispatch and industry, constant 
intelligence and correspondence, a large and strong memory;" he had 
a peculiar knack of politeness and artificial nourishing and entertaining 
of hopes, and keeping men in suspense as an antidote against poison of 
discontent, a lesson which he had learned from his great mistress^ Dr. 
Wilson was the author of several works ; he was thrown into prison at 
Rome for some free opinions contained in the " Art of Rhetorick ; *' 
" The Rule of Reason ; " and a work on ** Usury." He was tried for 
heresy, but he stoutly maintained his Protestant principles ; and when 
pressed to submit himself to the Holy Father and College of Cardinals^ 
he refused to make any submission. At length, being without hope of 
life, he was rescued by main force (an example hardly to be found) by 
the citizens of Rome. He died in 1581, and was buried in St. Cathe- 
rine's, leaving this conclusive character behind him : " that although he 
"hiade not so much noise as other men, yet he effectually promoted the 
three main supporters of the nation — its native commodities, its artificial 
manufactories, and its vecture and carriage." 

He left one son, Nicholas, of Sheepwash, in the county of Lincoln, 
who married a daughter of William Heneage, Esq., of Benworth, by 
whom he had two sons, Charles and Thomas. Charles was a major of 
horse in the service of King Charles, and fell at the battle of Naseby 
Field, at the early age of twenty-six. 

Another member of the family, " Master John Wilson, Esq." — as was 
the custom in those days to call Esquire — settled in Sussex, at Searles, 
in the parish of Fletching, in 1589. He was the son of John Wilson, 
of Tockwith, near York, and followed the profession of the law, in 
London. Having the management of the property of Richard Leach, 
Esq., a Sussex gentleman of fortune, having large estates in Kent, 
Hampshire, and Sussex, he was induced to purchase land there by this 
connection. He married Mary, the daughter of Thomas Gardener, 
Master of the Fine Office. She was a lady of very high spirit, several 
of whose letters are preserved, and they are very amusing ; but, having 
been written under a sense of fancied wrong, they gave vent to her 
feelings in terms too coarse and strong for modern ears. After his 
marriage he removed to Holmesdale, a place belonging to Sir Richard 
Michelbourne (described by one of the family, who wrote the chronicles 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 6^ 

of the Wilsons in an after age). Whilst he was living here, Mr. Wilson, 
with several others, became the proprietor of iron furnaces at Ashurst 
and Cowden, in Kent, also at Hartfield, in Sussex, where, by his agents, 
great quantities of iron were cast and converted into guns and other 
implements of public utility. He afterwards became connected with 
the Earl of Argyle and Sir George Hay, in Argyleshire. Unfortunately, 
the Scotch speculation proved a very unprofitable one, and he was glad 
to escape from his northern friends with the loss of above ;^5oo. 

Six years afterwards, says the family chronicler, a very memorable 
affair occurred to him. Sir Christopher Nevill, Knight of the Bath, 
direct ancestor of the present Lord Abergavenny, wishing to purchase 
some estates in the neighbourhood of Sheffield, applied to Mr. Wilson 
for his advice ; and was thus enabled to discover some frauds which had 
been practised upon him, by which Mr. Wilson drew upon himself the 
ill will of some mean persons, who circulated causeless and scandalous 
reflections on Mr. Wilson's worth. A certain fellow, John Tye, the 
most notorious of his slanderers, was selected for punishment. Mr. 
Serjeant Amherst had to vouch Mr. Wilson's gentility, as this was not 
his own county, and his descent was not so well known by all the 
justices, which in those days- was much regarded and esteemed. He 
applied to the Earl of Nottingham, and the following letter written by 
the Earl to the Earl Marshal of England, was the result of his applica- 
tion : — 

" After my hearty commendations, this is to certifie you that the 
bearer I know to be a gentleman well descended from an ancient family, 
and, ever since I came to be an Earl, he was, and yett is towards me in 
place of an Esquire ; and so in his port and carriage, where he liveth, 
wherefore it much distastes me that soe base a fellow, as I know Tye to 
be, should go abroad to disparage and disgrace him witTi his foull mouth 
and slanderous tongue ; you knowe how irksome it is for a gentleman 
to be abused by a clowne." 

Mr. Serjeant Amherst, Mr. Thos. Challoner, and Mr. Anthony Fowle 
were appointed by the Earl Marshal to enquire into the case ; Tye, as 
might easily be supposed, was directly afraid that he would be soon 
convicted. He begged for mercy, and was forgiven, upon condition 
that he made his humble submission and a public recantation of the 
calumny before the inhabitants of the parish, in the porch of the church 
at Fletching. The reproachful words which gave rise to all this matter 
were : — " As for this Wilson, I am as good as he is ; nobody knows 
where he came from," accompanied by some very coarse and offensive 
terms of contempt. 

The dignity of the Wilsons was established in the following year, by 
a commission granted by his Majesty to the Provincial King-at-arras, 
the clarencieux. Sir Richard St. George, Knight, to visit the county and 
take an account of all families of the nobility and gentry of the county, 
lawfully bearing arms, in the year 1634, also to take notice of all such 
persons who bore arms that had no right to be so called a gentleman or 
esquire, according to the laws of the land. According to the words of 
the commission of this visit those who had no lawful right were made 
infamous ; their names were posted up in the market places of the chief 
towns, stating they were not what they were called, according to the 
laws of honour and the Earl Marshal's authority. Mr. Wilson's birth, 
descent, and degree were solemnly allowed and established, together with 
bis coat armour, belonging to his ancestors. Upon this coat-of-arms is 



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68 HISTORY OF LEE 

evidence of its antiquity : A wolf rampant (natural position when seizing 
its prey) ; and in chief in the upper part of the shield, three estoiles (or 
stars), for the heralds, sable (black) represents the night " Here 'tis so, 
for sable or black represents the night, so that by this colour the stars 
are seen to advantage, and it is then the roaming wolves seek their prey." 
This good gentleman died in 1640, at the age of 75, and great was 
the ceremonial of his funeral. Twelve escutcheons of his arms, and the 
thirteenth of his coat and crest, all that the laws of heraldry allowed to 
a private gentleman under the degree of a knight, were carried before 
the hearse; 150 pairs of gloves were distributed to the mourners; and, 
by the light of fifty torches, the long procession wound its way at night 
time, from Sheffield-house, through the park, to the church at Fletching, 
where he was buried in the chancel, close to his own pew door. " He 
was," says our old authority, " of a nature formed for action, a genius 
Very enterprising, a person of great capacity in business, and in the 
affairs of life very active and industrious, and of great dispatch." When 
he visited London " his attire was costly and magnificent ; his coat lined 
with velvet which cost him ;^io; his silk stockings, for one pair;^i 15s. ; 
and two yards of broadcloth, at iis. per yard, were worked up into a 
coat, trimed with lace-silk and gold lace ; and his jerkin and his scarf 
with sword and dagger were worth a copyhold." 

His eldest son, Charles, was a youth of great promise, and in 162 1, 
being designed for the study of the laws, according to the custom of the 
age, was entered at Clifford's-inn ; but he had not been in London a 
twelvemonth before he became infected with that fatal distemper, the 
smallpox, with which he was seized at Godstone, on his way to his 
father's house ; there he and the servant who was sent to take care of 
him both died and were buried the following day, in the chancel of the 
church there. * 

His second son, John Wilson, was educated at Trinity College, 
Cambridge. Amongst the articles provided for his outfit there were 
a violet-coloured or purple gown, and a hoUand surplice. His father 
designed him for the bar, but he chose the church for his profession, 
and became Rector of Arlington. He was, in CromwelFs time, com- 
plained of for his scandalous life and manners, and was very justly turned 
out of his living. He married Cicely, daughter of Francis Shirley, Esq. ; 
but died, without children, in the year 1649. 

Another younger son of Mr. Wilson did not escape the contagion of 
the universal rage for gaming, and for extravagenc^ in dress, which pre- 
vailed in the time of Elizabeth, and was carried even to greater excess 
than in the days of James and Charles I. Francis Wilson addressed 
many letters to his father ; in one of them, written from Lewes, he 
says : — " I must confesse, for such kind and indulgent parents — too, too 
careful for such a son as I am — I do resolve in myself not to use that 
tormenting life of a gamester any more; I avow it was more my miserable 
destiny and God's appointment, than any desire in me." The next 
letter was written about a year later, from Kildare-house, Ireland, August, 
1633: — " Most kind and loving father, let heaven assist me in the re- 
membrance and acknowledgement of your most unspeakable expressions 
of your fatherly love and bounty, being unable to pay my tailor's bill, 
and threatened with arrest. But for this" he adds, " I had come over the 
water for your blessing ; the hope that I have it, and heaven's best 
performance, hath conveighed me to the coast of Dublyn, in Ireland. 
It hath pleased God so to befriend me as to make me knowne to my 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 69 

Lord of Kildare, and to find such favour at his lordship's hands as to 
make me groom of his bedchamber, and nearer to himself, soe that I 
doupt not to reape benefit, credit, and preferment in his service. There- 
fore I pray you to bestow ;^20 more on me as soon as you possibly can, 
and lay out ;^io in a scarlet coate, a slashed white sattin doublet, scarlet 
pair of hoase, a pair of silk stockings, and half-a-dozen shirtes. Pray, 
good sir, doe as I entreate you, and you shall think it the best money 
you ever bestowed on me. I borrowed ;^2o of Mr. Ralph Ramsden, 
which I desire you to paye." " The money and the fine clothes arrived, 
but in the meantime he had quarrelled with his patron and parted from 
him. He tells his father : — " My Lord of Kildare has been unreason- 
able, requiring service not fit for any gentleman to perform, and violating 
his promisses. Moreover I must tell you that my tallent in lying here 
soe long, at a great charge, is nearly gone, so that I desire you, if you 
tender my welfare, to renew my store. There is noe newes here but 
that my lord deputy governs with dread and respect, both of gentry 
and commonalty." Signing himself "Your honest but poore sonne, 
Francis Wilson. Dublin, February 29th, 1634." 

After many disappointments, he determined to enter as a volunteer 
into the service of the Hollanders (the refuge of many other gallant 
English and Scotch adventurers), engaging in their long wars with Philip 
of Spain. His military career, which lasted five years in the armies of 
the Dutch and Swedes, was one continual hardship and disappointment. 
In his passage to Holland, when off Flushing, the ship was boarded by 
a man-of-war from Dunkirk ; he was taken prisoner, and carried to 
Ostend, and being promised his freedom speedily, he writes to his father 
to say, — " I hope in God, I shall doe well, I fear nothing, vale." These 
cheery words had scarcely been written, when the Ostenders took from 
him and his fellow prisoners their money, coats, and swords, and almost 
all they had. " They detained us eight days, soe that wee were forced 
to pawne all the residue of our cloathes, compelling those that had 
money to pay for those that had none." Wilson made his escape by 
means of an Englishman, who had a ship lying at Newport ; they passed 
through the Dunkirk fleet as it lay at anchor during the night, and 
arrived safely at Rotterdam, from whence he went to the Hague. On 
December 2nd he writes to his father : — " I came there and delivered 
my letter to my Lady Goring, who used me very kindly, and would have 
me stay to supper ; but I thanked her, and did for that night take my 
leave. The Queen, by her solicitor, who was with Lady Goring, heard 
that an English gentleman was taken by the Dunkirkers, and asked 
where he was, soe that I could see her, and that it was fitt I should 
buy me a sworde and belt, - and make myself handsome ; soe I was 
driven to buy myself a hat, a clean shirt, bandes and ruffs ; I put on my 
scarlet suit, and went and kissed the queen's hand and the princes' and 
princesses' hands ; and the queen did discourse with me, and I stayed 
about an hour. The night following, I supped with " my Lady Goring, 
. at her own table ; and the coronel's captayne being in towne, my lady 
did speake to him in my behalf, and he saluted me very kindly, and 
bade me go to his ayncient, at Dorte ; when I go to the company I 
shall be admitted a gentleman of the same, and I dare say the poorest 
one there." He concludes with a request to his father to send him ;£^io 
and his Bible, " which will be found in my trunke, and some history 
books, that might serve to better my knowledge and pass away my time 
in garrison. Because this is my second year's service, I desire to go 

6—2 



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70 HISTORY OF LEE 

accordingly furnished into the field like a gentleman, that I may not 
disparage my coronel for bestowing it." His father writing to his eldest 
son, says: — "Let the coronel understand that I will allow my son 
Francis 4s. every eight days, to be added to his paye ; if it please God 
to grant him a religious harte, I would have him live like a gentleman, 
for the good of himself and also for the reputation of his family." Much 
need there was for such comforts. 

In a letter to his brother, Mr. William Wilson, gentleman of the 
horse to the Earl of Suffolk, Suffolk House, Charing Cross, he speaks. 
" of dreadful marches they had made, such as the oldest soldier in the 
army had never seen or felt the like ; cold, hunger, misery, and disease, 
the poor soldiers endured, of which had caused a multitude of them to 
starve and perish. Our first march," he writes, " was from Virmingham 
to Maestrike, where we met 27,000 foote and 6,000 horse of the King 
of France, who had come to ayde the Prince of Orange. We first 
marched to a towne called Teenen, which the States and French tooke, 
plundered, and burnt, and used such murderous cruelty and inhumanity, 
that is beyond exposure and beliefe, taking the infants out of theyr 
mothers' arms and dashing out their braynes, and killing their mothers, 
not sparing goods or churches. From thence we marched to Louvain, 
in Flanders, where we lost many men." Shortly after this, he was 
attacked by a burning fever and pleurisy, consequent upon fatigue and 
unwholesome food, and very nearly died. He returned for a short 
time to England to recruit his health, as he was laid up with a severe 
wound in the head, received in a quarrel with a company cJf " Dutch 
villains," as he calls them. The letter concludes with the usual ap- 
plication to which, in all ages of the world, fathers have been subject : 
— " You knowe," he says, " though ;^20 per annum mayntayne a man 
when well in health, yet if he be hurte, sike or lame, as many times 
falleth out with soldiers, it will be very hard for him to subsist on." He 
afterwards joined the Swedish army, but here his evil fortune followed 
him, the force to which he was attached was attacked on its march at a 
town called Shettenpen, most of the men were killed, and he was taken 
prisoner. "When I was taken prisoner," he says, "I was with my 
captayne and lieutenant, a corporal and some musqueteers, on the top 
of the Port Tower, which we kept all that night when the town was 
taken ; but the next daye, on the promise of good quarter, we yealded 
to the enemy. I was carried whithersoever the regiment went, and now 
abideth in Lure Westphalia." He tells his father that unless a ransom 
is paid, which will cost too guilders, he must turn and serve the 
emperor, for they gave him " nothing to eate but bread and water, and 
that very sparingly." The ransom was paid, and he came back to 
England. 

Upon the breaking out of the troubles in Scotland in 1636, he and 
his elder brother accompanied the king to Berwick. He calls upon his 
father to come forward handsomely : — " I desire to be furnished in all 
poynts in a warlike equipage, that soe I may fight the Lord's battle with 
a good courage, and return victorious." These cheering prospects of 
that expedition, ended, as is well known, in the disgraceful rout of the 
English at Newburn, and the occupation of Newcastle by the Scotch. 
There being no further occasion for his services at home, Francis Wilson, 
by his brother's assistance, was again fitted out, and this time joined the 
French army, then engaged at the Siege of Arras. And this is all we 
know of his military career ; for it does not appear that either he or his 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 7 1 

brother were much engaged in active service in the Civil Wars. In 1643, 
however, we find him a prisoner in the Gatehouse, and thus addressing 
his brother : — " I thanke you for your advice and money. I had been 
discharged upon my several petitions to Parliment, if the rogues had 
dealt trewly with me. I shall not fayle to see you as soon as I am out 
of prison. I acknowledge the receipt of ;^5, and rest your loving 
brother, Francis Wilson. — From the Gatehouse." 

It appears, however, from the following passage in Dugdale's 
Troubles of England^ that he had been present at the Battle of Edgehill, 
and the cause of his imprisonment is there explained : — " To the end 
their party took care to suppress any bad tidings, and to puff up the 
people with strange imaginations of victory and conquest, by producing 
forged letters, as was manifest in the commitment of certain persons to 
prison, which came from Kineton Battle, and reported the very truth of 
the King's success, Captn. Wilson, Lieutenant Witney, and Mr. Banks, 
who were all sent to the Gatehouse." 

The last days of Francis Wilson will not be read without some feel- 
ing of interest. In September, 1653, he wrote this last letter to his 
brother :^-" On Wednesday last I wrote to you for ;^5, but whether I 
shall live to see it or not, God knows ; but whether I doe or not is not 
so much questionable, for I conclude myselfe not a man for this world, 

wherefore I humbly entreate you that you will be helpful to 

my dear wyfe for the bringing up of my daughter, and herein doe as the 
Almightie shall direct you ; it is an act of pitye ; and being the request 
of your dyeing brother, and the last, I believe, that ever I shall make to 
you, I hope you will accomplish it with cheerfulness, which is prayed 
and earnestly desired by your dyeing brother, Francis Wilson." His 
forebodings were true, as the following letter shows : — " Worthy Sir, — 
It pleased Gd9, on the 23rd August last, early in the morning, to 
deprive you of a loving brother, and* me of a deare and tender husband ; 
he died very penitent, and I doupt not but the Almightie hath received 
his soul into the armes of His mercie. He desired that his body might 
be buried at the old church in Rood's Lane, London, a place which he 
much honoured for the sake of those worthy divines he often heard 
there. I take my leave of you, craving your answer, and conclude, a 
disconsolate widow, Mary Wilson. Septr. 1658." 

[We have given a long history of the above Francis Wilson, in con- 
sequence of his long career of vicissitudes of this mortal life, as reported 
in old manuscripts.] 

Mr. William Wilson, the third son of John Wilson, who eventually 
became his heir, was Born in 1605. He was placed early in life in the 
household of the Earl of Suffolk, and filled the office of Master of the 
Horse to that great nobleman. We may imagine the hearty good will 
with which he must have executed the following commission from his 
patron's daughter, the LadyKatherine Howard : — " Mr. Wilson, — I write 
to you about a saddel, which my lord bid me send you, to speake to 
Mr. Moore to furnish you with things for it. I would have it made of 
vilvet, with a small gold fringe about the seat ; and the cage, which 
should come no lower than the leather uses to come, and a light bite, 
and a cross of wooelen girths. You knowe better than I can direct 
howe I should like to have it made for a hunteinge sadel ; and if you 
can find a horse that may bee for my turne — for this country will afford 
none — my lord would have you buy me one, if you can get money for 
it ; for I am forste eather to goe daile in the coche, or stay at home 



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72 HISTORY OF LEE 

when they all go a hunteinge. I pray, if my Lady Anindell be in towiie, 
do me the favour to see her from mee. My ante Howard hath a good 
piece of clothe for you, and wished you at her house, where we were 
very much made of. Your friend, K. Howard. Lulworth Castle, 
July 1 2th." 

Soon after the death of his father he married a daughter of Mr. 
Haddon, a rich merchant of London, and of an old family long seated 
in a place of the same name in Northamptonshire. Soon after their 
marriage they removed to Eastbourne Place, which his wife's step-father, 
Dr. Burton first relinquished and afterwards sold to him. An old 
account book states its rental at " ;£^999 a year, 3 lbs. of pepper, and 
I lb. of cumin seed." The last two items are set down to be worth ;^25 
a year ; and the following additional particulars of the property are not 
without their interest : — " There belongeth to the said manor, wreck of 
sea the space of four miles, also wayfes and strayes, all which may 
happen to be worth ;^i 0,000 in an hower, as it hath been in other 
places on the coast ; but the meanest year's we have it is worth ;£^3o. 
Item ; There belongeth to the said manor one warren of conies worth 
;^4o a yeare. Item : The royalty of hawking, huntinge, fishing, and 
fowling; we take yearly twelve dozen sea-gulls, worth 30s. per dozen, 
;^i8; besides puetts and sea-pyes. Item: The lord of the manor of 
Eastbourne hath 700 acres of ground which have long since been over- 
flowed by the sea, which in summer will keep 200 swyne and 300 
sheepe ; with two great ponds of carpe and good fish." 

Excepting the Battles of Hastings and Lewes, Sussex has been as 
little disturbed by wars as any county in England, and any one disposed 
to be quiet during the conflict between the King and Parliament, might 
manage to do so. This was generally the case with Mr. Wilson ; but 
loyalty was put to the test at the time of the meditdted escape of 
Charles I. from Carisbrooke Castle. He was entrusted with the im- 
portant secret of what was intended. A letter sent to him by an express 
from the Earl of Dorset, with a little picture of the King enclosed (for 
fear of discovery), informing him that he should prepare to receive the 
original ; to which he returned this loyal answer, That he would do it 
with his life and fortune. But this unhappy prince was destined for 
martyrdom, and all these salutary measures proved ineffectual. 

Some years after, Mr. Wilson had a narrow escape. His attachment 
to the Royal cause was well known. On Good Friday, 1658, a detach- 
ment of dragoons, commanded by Lieutenant Hopkins, by order of 
Cromwell, came to search his house at Eastbourne ; the search had 
scarcely commenced when Mrs. Wilson (her husband being confined by 
serious illness to his bed) ordered a large pie filled with wheatears to be 
placed before them for lunch. The officer, so pleased and delighted 
at the novelty of the pie (to him), merrily insisted that all his military 
companions should taste of the rare repast, which they did with much 
jollity, going away much better pleased with their entertainment than 
the family were with their guests. Whilst they were feasting, Mrs. Wilson 
(such is her own account of the transaction) went up to her husbandj 
then sick in bed, who desired her to bring him a file of letters out of 
his closet. He took off* one or more, and ordered her instantly to burn 
them, to stir up the ashes, and then call up the officer, which she 
accordingly did. No sooner was the officer in the room than he took 
up the file from which the burnt letters had been taken, and, after a 
search, complacently wished Mrs. Wilson joy that he had found nothing 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. . ^ 73 

according to his expectations; "for had I," said the officer, "found 
anything according to information given in against him, my orders were 
to have taken him away." 

Independently, and of her own resources, Mrs. Wilson was not 
without interest with some of the party in power, and to one of these, 
her cousin, she appeals. After giving an account of the soldiers' visit, 
she writes : — " They said they came by order from the Protector Crom- 
well, but what my husband's offence they knew not, which made him 
extreamly wonder, having never acted against the present government. 
As I am a Christian, he hath lived retired at home to avoid all publicke 
and private meetings, because he would not give cause for suspition ; 
and whatever information has been given against him is malitious and 
false; for as I am a Christian I write nothing concerning him but truth, 
therefore pray consider the sad condition I and my six children should 
be left in, if he should be by force taken awaye and miscarrye. * Triale 
of a friende in the time of need,' therefore my husband's desire and my 
own to you is, that you will make some address to his Highness in his 
behalf, and so inform him of the condition of his life and body, and 
. procure something under my lord's hand. Sweet cousen, let me begg 
of the utmost endeavours and importunity with all your friends about 
his Highness, that he may remain quiet without disturbance. He that 
came for my husband was the Lieutenant Hopkins of Colonel Inglesby's 
regiment. — Your obliged kinswoman and servant, Mary Wilson." 

Her daughter, then a girl at school at Hackney, thus writes to her : — 
" Dear Mother, — I have bin at Whitehall to wait on Cousin Gardener, 
and I see the Lord Mayor's Show ; and by her command we saw the 
protekter lying in state, which is the most stately sight that I ever did 
see, and which I shall never forget hereafter. — Your most obedient 
daughter, Philadelphia Wilson." 

With regard to this young lady, she promises her mother that she 
shall receive a frog purse and a table book in the course of a fortnight. 

Mr. Wilson, says our chronicler, sensible that his principles rendered 
him suspected and obnoxious to the prevailing powers, led a more close 
and wary life, and it was with difficulty he saved his estates from seques- 
tration; but he lived to see the king, with our ancient government, 
happily restored, which he forwarded to the utmost of his power, and 
proclaimed it on a grand scale at Eastbourne with the most cordial 
affection and joy, celebrating that solemnity, amongst other demonstra- 
tions, with bonfires on the hillocks between Bourne town and The Place, 
his seat. Here he had brought out a hogshead of claret and a pipe or 
two of strong ale, and all loyal people of the town and adjacent neighbour- 
hood were entertained by him. After drinking the king's health, with 
his lady and children, and the rest of his family, out of pure zeal, and 
upon their knees, he there publicly declared that now, God be thanked ! 
he thought his estate his own, and he hoped that every man of them 
around him would think the same. 

His lady, to whom he was deeply attached, did not long survive 
this ebulition of happiness; in 1661 she died. And in trusting the care 
of his children for education to a clergyman at Foots Cray, Kent, he 
thus alludes to his sad loss : — " Sir, — It hath pleased God for my sinnes 
to take from mee my dear wife, one of the best of women, as being too 
good for mee. The high character which some of my friends have 
given of you, makes me deliver all my sonnes to your great care, painful 
industry, and tuition ; not only for learning, but desire that you will 



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74 HISTORY OF LEE 

instruct them in the fundamental grounds of the true Protestant religion, 
as is established by the laws of this kingdom ; in which they have had 
instruction from their religious mother. That God would be pleased 
to dispense His blessing upon your and their endeavours, is, and shall 
be, the prayer of William Wilson." 

In the coat-of-arms of the Wilsons, well do the wheatears deserve a 
conspicuous quartering. The finest and fattest birds were found on the 
Downs about Beachy Head, and alas ! in far greater numbers than is 
the case nowadays. They were a great card in Mr. Wilson's hand, 
which he played freely and ably. Who shall say whether his loyalty or 
his wheatears had most to do with his elevation to the rank of a baronet, 
which took place almost immediately after the Restoration? And a 
costly honour it was in those days, as he paid ;£^io95 for it, that sum 
professing to be for the maintenance of thirty soldiers of militia, in 
Ireland, for three years. Certain it is that Charles II. was very fond of 
wheatears, and equally certain that Mr. Wilson supplied his Majesty 
very freely. 

His nephew, Francis Beard, secretary to the Earl of Northampton, 
writes to his uncle: — "Hon. Sir, — I acknowledge that both yourselfe 
and my good Aunte have bin never wanting heaping favours upon me ; 
more especially, among the rest, in presenting my lord with this noble 
present, which hath made such a deep impression on his lordship's 
thoughts on yourself and mee. For our greater honour, his lordship 
carried your present in his own hands, and presented it to his Majesty, 
and told his Majesty from whence they came ; and his Majesty was 
pleased to say that he had never eat such fat birds in his life before." - 
On another oceasion he writes to say, that " the king had them as from 
you." Scarcely less grateful was Lady Wilson's step-father. Dr. Burton, 
Rector of Broadwater, who wrote asking for thirty dozen of them. 

" I heare," writes the Earl of Dorset, " that my old friend Dr. Burton 
is nott at Bourne ; but understanding you dwell there, I am hopeful to 
procure the same friendly respects I was wont to receive from him. My 
request is, that when wheatears are best, you would, for the short time 
they last, now and then oblige mee with some of them. I would not 
bee a beggar, as poor as I am, if they weare provisions to bee bought 
for money in these parts ; but since you are a great, if not sole master 
of them, I am very willing to bee beholdinge to you, with assurance 
that whensoever it is in my power, you shall find me Your affectionate 
friend, Dorset. July 30th, 1646." This was the Earl Dorset who, 
when young and Sir Edward Sackville, fought the well-known desperate 
duel with Lord Bruce, in which that nobleman was killed and himself 
severely wounded. 

Sir William Wilson was created baronet 13th Charles II. He ap- 
pears to have had very delicate health, and on that account he applied 
to the Bishop of Chichester for permission to eat flesh meat during 
Lent. The license was readily granted, and the Bishop, feeling the 
importance of social enjoyment, generously extended the same to his 
wife and other four persons whom he might wish to ask to dinner. 

Sir William is represented as " a person endowed with very good 
natural parts, who had acquired much knowledge in the business affairs 
of life, of which he had seen a deal in the Court, the Camp, and the 
Country ; so that he had the reputation of a wise understanding man. 
To the needy and necessitous he was ever disposed to help, and do 
good and humane offices to the orphan and poor, several of whom for 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 75 

years had regular weekly reliefe. He was especially bountiful at festival 
times, particularly at Christmas. He was a good manager as well as a 
generous gentleman. As to his religion, he was a hearty Protestant, of 
the Church of England, and took especial care that his children should 
be brought up in the same religious principles." In the papers of his 
domestic expenses there are many proofs of his liberality to the poor. 
Every year during Christmas week 150 were regaled. 

His good management and prudent economy is shown in the follow- 
ing letter of his agent, with whom his grandchildren were living : — 
" London, i6th Octr., 1680. Hon. Sir, — I have been with the man 
concerning the lamb's wool ; he hath promised if you send up two packs 
of the same fine wool, he will give 7d. a lb. for it; but if yoifr worship's 
wool doe not prove so fine a sample (which my chapman wishes it may), 
then he will only give 6d. a lb. for it, that being the market price. I 
hope your worship will not send up your wool till Wednesday come 
se'nnight, by reason of fast day next week, which every good Protestant 
will keepe solemnly. . . . My mistress doth say that when your worship, 
Sir William Culpepper, Misse Mary, and Misse Judith, your grand- 
children were last at your worship's, you was so pleased to bestow on 
each of your grandchildren half a penny ; but as I have not charged the 
sume of one penny and a halfe, will your worship order me to do the 
same ? — I am, your worship's obedient servant, Matthew Crouch." 

The Sir William Culpepper above alluded to was the son of Sir 
William Wilson's eldest daughter Judith. Her husband, Benjamin 
Culpepper, had died in her father's lifetime, leaving only one child, this 
boy. Being left a widow at an early age, she married her second 
husband Capt. Mason, without the consent or the knowledge of her 
father, who was so indignant as to refuse to see her. The Duke of 
York, however, under whom this gallant officer served, stepped in ; and 
the following letter, signed with his own hand, had its due effect : — " Sir 
William Wilson, — The relation which Capt. Mason hath now unto you, 
by the marriage of your daughter, makes me willing to tell to you my 
knowledge of him whilst he had relation to me. He served as my eldest 
lieutenant in the late wars, and there behaved himself with much 
gallantry, as he hath done in all other employments in his Majesty's 
service : soe I thinke your daughter hath made a good choice, and the 
gentleman deserves your favour. — I am, your loving friend, James." 

The following letter, written many years afterwards by one of Capt. 
Mason's sons, to another head of the Wilson family^ gives the issue of 
this marriage : — " Sir, — I am obliged for your kind enquiry after the 
small remains of my family. My father had several children by Sir 
William Wilson's daughter, the late Sir William Culpepper's mother ; 
my brother Christopher, that was cleft down by a pole axe whilst boarding 
a French man-of-war, was the eldest. I am the only surviving son of 
Capt. Mason by a third wife ; I have one son only, a child four years 
old ; I shall always retain great esteem for a family to which my father 
was honoured with so near an allyance " 

Little more is said in our family history of Sir William Culpepper, 
than that he died* in London in 1740, unmarried, and was buried at 
St. James's, Westminster ; and with him the male line of that old and 
distinguished family became extinct. Among the noble knightly houses 
of England, few ranked higher than that of the Culpeppers. Leeds 
Castle, standing proudly within its wide moat, near Maidstone, in Kent, 
was their chief hold; their possessions extended widely over Kent, 



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76 HISTORY OF LEE 

Surrey, and Sussex ; and many a belted knight and lady lie mouldering 
under brass tablets in the church at Ardingley, the parish in which one 
of their finest seats, that of Wakehurst, is situated. It was of the last of 
this distinguished race, the grandson of Sir William Wilson, that his 
step-father, anxiotls for his welfare, thus wrote to this youth's grand- 
father : — " Hon. Sir, — I have discoursed with his mother about . his 
speedy going to Eaton Schoole, but I finde they are much more 
inclinable for a tutor in the house. For my owne part. Sir, I have so 
great value for your sense and knowledge in the affairs of the world, that 
I will not and dare not act alone in so difficult and critical a parte. You 
know that in this month he is fifteen years of age ; and the Culpeppers 
grow stubbornly ripe betimes. I am fearful of taking a tutor into the 
house that his mother's blind fondjness will much prejudice his learning. 
I doe fully agree with you that it is quite necessary he should make 
himself master of the Latin tongue ; it is the key to unlocke the cabbinets 
of all our Christian languages, contaynd in the quintessence of all human 
learning. I doe easily believe that there are those in Sussex who have 
insinuated in the mind of your grandson Culpepper ill principles, and 
my wife tells me that they are Thos. Beard and his wife. Old Freere, 
more of which my sister Phill. can tell you, and how they got him from 
my son Fagge, point blank against mother's commands, and told him he 
was a foole to be governed by his' mother or anybody else. Pray let me 
desire you to send me your opinion whether we had best to send Will to 
Eaton, or take a tutor in our house. — I am, hon. Sir, your obedient 
son-in-law, Christopher Mason. Greenwich, November, 1634." 

Age had not quenched the interest which he felt in his grandson, 
nor his energy m trying to control and divert him from ill advisers. He 
tells him " that he had reason to believe that he was addicted to vain 
pleasures, and to listen to sycophants rather than to submit to any dis- 
cipline, he calls upon him to give promise in writing to continue two 
years longer at Eaton, to study close that he may have the Latin tongue 
fluently as English, and then to up to the Academy in France, to learn 
the French tongue, and such other exercises as gentlemen are instructed 
in." And he concludes: — "Submit yourself to the .orders of your 
guardian ; serve God with a perfect heart, and keep orderly company." 

Sir William Wilson was the first baronet, created for his loyalty to 
his- King and country. During his long career in life in doing good 
service in many ways, he saw many changes and encountered many 
old staunch friends. He died at the patriarchal age of eighty, in the year 
1685, beloved and much respected by all. 

We are now in history introduced to the second baronet. Sir William, 
of the Sussex line of Wilsons. He had lately lost his wife, and his 
brother John thus writes to him the following letter of excellent advice : 
— " East Grinstead, Marcl* nth, 1686. Good Brother, — I can no less 
condole with you in so great an affliction, which God hath been pleased 
to lay upon you ; and no question but that your wife is in Heaven. My 
advice to you, in your domestic affairs, is this : Follow as nigh as you 
can the footsteps of our dear father, neglect not your prayers with your 
family, and often petition God to shower down His blessings upon you 
and yours ; if He grant not your petition presently, yet He will give you 
a patient will. Be sure you keep your children to their books, that they 
may be taught the fear of the Lord, for they are those for whom you 
must give an account to God if you neglect your duty in bringing them 
up, and your servants likewise ; keep them to their devotion on the 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 77 

Sabbath, if,, with David, you intend that you and your house should 
serve the Lord. Avoid all suits at law with your neighbours or any 
other persons whatsoever, except in cases of great concern. In small 
matters, rather lose your just due, than goe suit for it, for it will not 
satisfy the charges ; and be sure God will avenge your cause, for 
* Vengeance is mine, and I will repay, saith the Lord ; ' by that meanes 
you will gaine a contented life to yourself, and love to your neighbours, 
which was one of our father's chief principles. Be sure to live within 
compass, rather than above yourselfe. Remember what our father and 
his father before him used to say : that he that spent three-parts of his 
estate should dye a beggar. Call your Bayliffe and your servants that 
you repose trust in, to a dayly, weekly, and monthly account ; by so 
doing, you will make them careful to serve you, and more fearful to 
wrong and cheat you. Your assured and loving brother till death, 
John Wilson." 

What effect those prudential maxims (such as are not usually offered 
by a younger to an elder brother, and urged upon him) had, we know 
not; certain it is that they were utterly disregarded by some of his 
successors, and large possessions which had been accumulated by the 
care and prudence of their fathers (the result of successful speculations 
in ironworks, or marriages with heiresses) including the fine property at 
Eastbourne, were, according to traditions of the family, dissipated and 
lost — those fine estates that the family had been associated with for 
several generations. 

The Rev. Edward Wilson, another son, was, says the writer, one of 
those primitive and non-juring clergymen of the Church of England on 
the Revolution. He was born at The Place, in Eastbourne, on the 
2nd of July, 1652. He took the name of his godfather, the learned 
and loyal divine. Dr. Edward Burton. In May, 1670, he was admitted 
into Queen's College, Cambridge, and lived in the quality of a pensioner, 
being educated under Mr. Robert Needham, M.A., and Dr. Henry 
James, both Fellows of the House, and of note for their learning. He 
was elected Scholar, and took both his degrees of B.A. and M.A. In 
1675 ^^ wrote to his father to get the king's mandate for a fellowship. 
Sir William engaged a friend in his son's service, who, after the usual 
salutations, says : " My lord Suffolk is at Court, whither I am going to- 
morrow, and will acquaint him with your request. The Duke of Mon- 
mouth is Chancellor, who, I am informed, is the first and properest 
steps to climb by. I do assure you I will serve you to the best I can. — 
Your humble servant, Jo. Jeffs. August, 1675." 

Better preferment was in store for him, and he became Rector 
of Blatchington ; but when a majority of those members of both Houses 
of Parliament, afterwards called Convocation, in the year 1688, not 
without a warm opposition (on King James withdrawing, or, as others 
say, being frightened from his metropolis) had voted the throne vacant, 
and that it should be filled by the Prince of Orange, and when they had 
taken possession of their father's throne, in consequence thereof, the 
Rev. Mr. Wilson judged that matters were carried to too great lengths ; 
and having regard to the allegiance which he had sworn to his un- 
doubted prince. King James, he utterly refused to take the oaths then 
required to be taken to the new-made king and queen ; as did also 
divers of his reverend brethren. Mr. Wilson was suspended, and in 
1690 was deprived of his living by the new government, one John Hind 
taking possession thereof on the 1 8th July in the same year; after which 



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78 HISTORY OF LEE 

the reverend gentleman retired to the parish of Buckstead, in Sussex, 
and spent the remainder of his days there, never afterwards accepting 
any prefernaent in the Church; he died there in 1728, aged 77. He 
was a firm Protestant, an honest man, and good Christian. He was 
handsomely interred the night following his decease — his pall supported 
by six of the clergy — in the chancel of the church, in accordance with 
his own desire, close to the remains of his wife, who was a daughter of 
S. Graves, Esq., of West Firle, Sussex, J. P., a gentleman memorable for 
conducting in safety that great loyal subject, the gallant Marquis of 
Ormond, fr9m London to Sussex, when he was so vigilantly sought after 
by the arch-traitor Cromwell, and procuring him a safe passage into 
France from that coast. 

It was to a direct ancestor of the late Admiral Sir Henry Shiffner, 
Baronet, that Charles II. owed his escape from Brighton after the 
Battle of Worcester ; for such was Captain Tattersall, who conveyed 
him away in his vessel called the Happy JBntry, for which he afterwards 
received a pension of ;^ioo a year, continued for ninety years. A ring, 
with the portraits of Charles and his Queen, presented by the king to 
Captain Tattersall, is preserved in the family. 

The history of another son, that of Thomas Wilson, the fifth ^on of 
Sir William, is singular ; and we give it in the words of our chronicler : 
" An unfortunate accident befel this young gentleman, which, as it is 
very noteable and extraordinary, it will not be impertinent to relate. 
When a young man, and in London, about the year 1675, he happened 
to be out very late one night in the streets, having been at a taverne 
near Temple Bar, and, being drunk, he lay down on a tradesman's bulk 
in the street, and there fell asleep ; he was seized upon and carried by. 
a gang of kidnappers in that dead sleep, and put on board of a ship in 
the Thames, which was soon to sayle for the West Indies ; there they 
transported him, and sold him as a slave to a planter in Jamaica, in the 
northern and most wild uninhabited part of the island. The planter 
soon died, and left a widow, whom Mr. Wilson served so well that she 
made him an overseer of a gang of negroes, and her bailiff and steward ; 
and he so far ingratiated himself, and having good parts and an agree- 
able person, with a good education, that she became enamoured with 
him, and would have married him ; and so warm was she, that he (not 
affecting to have a coloured lady), to avert her solicitations, had re- 
course to the expedient of telling her that he was married. However, 
he continued a considerable time in this servitude, unknown to his 
family, who had deemed him lost ; but he sent them notice as soon as 
he could in the following letter : — * Jamaica, 17th October, 1675. Hon. 
Sir, — These may serve to advertise you of my condition ; that I am a 
servant for four years. You are not ignorant of my inability to doe 
laborious work, especially in this hot country, I humbly crave your 
assistance in this necessity ; for unless you send me money by the first 
ship, to the value of ;^2o or upwards, the servitude that is laid upon 
me will quickly bring me to the grave ; and, therefore, as you desire to , 
see me againe, pray fail not to comply with my desire. I am living at 
the little river in the north side.' 

" On the arrival from England of Captain Scarlet, a native of East- 
bourne (who had an estate in that island, and who was engaged by Sir 
William to make himself acquainted with his son's condition and cir- 
cumstances, and to undertake a journey up the unfrequented part of 
the island, to the very plantation where he was), he soon espied him, 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. J 9 

and presently knew him ; and upon conference with him, he speedily 
wayted on Sir Thomas Modyford, Bart., Governor under King Charles 
the Second, and was by him put into a method, and dispatched with 
money and other requisites for his redemption ; which the Captain, by 
his prudence, effected, but not without difficulty. As soon as he had 
paid his ransom, he is said thus to have saluted him : * Sir William and 
the rest of your family were all well when I left England ; and, sir, I 
congratulate you upon your freedom.' 

" No sooner did the widow learn that he was a son of a person of 
quality, discovering too that the story of his marriage was an artifice to 
deceive her, it is said she burst into a furious passion of rage and anger, 
swearing that had she known so much before, no money should have 
bought him. But, however, this and the material parts of this relation 
are confirmed by the letters of Sir Thomas Modyford to Sir William 
Wilson, and his son Mr. Charles Modyford ; and afterwards Mr. Thomas 
Wilson continued a good while with Sir Thomas ; and in gratitude to 
the hon. baronet, it must be said he took a great deal of care of him, 
and was very obliging to him in the good offices he did him when he 
returned to England." The sum paid for his ransom was ;^2o. 

This Thomas Wilson when he returned from his captivity to England 
married Ann, the daughter of George Courthorpe, Esq., of Whadhurst, 
and it was his son Thomas who succeeded to the baronetcy, who in the 
year 1723 sold the property at Eastbourne to Sir Spencer Compton, 
Speaker of the House of Commons (afterwards Earl of Wilmington). 

His son William, born at Eastbourne in 1705, was a hopeful youth, 
and had offers of places at Court suitable to his birth and quality, which 
he declined in favour of military employment, and was initiated in the 
exercises befitting the profession of a soldier, as well as in the accomp- 
lishments of a gentleman ; but an early death put an end to the progress 
he had made on the 23rd January, 1723, having been, on the day before 
his death, presented to the post of cornet in the Royal Horse Guards. 
He was interred in the family vault at Eastbourne. 

His death carried the title to Thomas, who had married a daughter 
of Mr. William Hutchinson, of Uckfield, and he was succeeded by his 
son, Sir Edward Wilson, the fifth baronet. 

In the General Evening Post oi ^BXyirdsy, October 20th, 1759, there 
is a rather long obituary notice of Sir Thomas Wilson, Bstrt., in which 
much of the genealogy of the family is set forth, very much as it is in 
the Baronetages. It was supplied by Sir Edward Wilson, F.S.A., and 
the article attracted the attention of John Wilson of Bromhead. This 
gentleman, supposing himself to be descended from a branch of the 
Wilsons of Elton, from whom Sir Edward traced his descent, wrote on 
the subject to Sir Edward, who replied at considerable length, in a letter 
dated i8th December, 1759. Mr. Wilson had it directed to him at 
Bourn Place ; but, Sir Edward says : " This seat, which is a very fine 
one, did belong to my family, together with a capital lordship and four 
other manors, and several other lands and tenements lying adjacent 
thereto ; the tenements, I mean customary, all fineable at the lord's 
will, as heriotable in kind as well for free copyhold ; a free waren by 
grant free from the Crown ; the wreck of sea by the space of more than 
four miles under the noted promontory and cliffs adjoining, called the 
* three Charles's or Chorles's ' and Beachy Head. This seat, with some 
manors and lands, came to my late father by virtue of entail, whilst a 
part of it was inherited by the late Sir William Wilson's sister and heir ; 



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8q HISTORY OF LEE 

but a part of this estate coming to my father being encumbered, he was 
pleased (though against the consent and approbation of the rest of his 
family) to convey it to the late Earl of Wilmington, whose principal seat 
it was, and who, before he purchased it, held it by lease from his 
guardians. He used extraordinary means to persuade and procure 
him to sell it to himself, leaving no stone unturned to effect it ; and 
well he might, for the description I have now mentioned, and its most 
delightful situation for prospect and beauty, it may vie with most in this 
country — the wild sea, the Downs, all at once viewed ; also the excel- 
lency of that bird, by some called the English ortolan, the wheatear, is 
famed even to a proverb — a Bourn wheatear being the best of the kind 
in this county or anywhere. After his death it came to his nephew, the 
Earl of Northampton, who made his residence in thiff county, and he 
dying, his brother, the late Consul Compton, had it, whose son, now 
Earl Northampton, possesses it, who married the Duke of Beaufort's 
sister, with whom he got acquainted whilst at Brighthelmstone, 
in this county, of late so much resorted to for the sea-water, as 
Scarborough is in your county ; and at Bourne Place he lives when in 
this county. These things in regard to this seat and part of this estate 
were done whilst I was an infant, which are such that no man (so nearly 
concerned as myself, on whom it was entailed) could bear regretting ; 
but *what cannot be cured,' according to common saying, *must be 
endured.' Thanks to God, I have some lordships and their demesnes 
and other lands still left, the remains of a much greater estate, though 
not so suitable to my rank as I could wish : but as I am a batchelor, 
the circumstance is an incentive to me (out of a decent regard to 
decorum; in this respect, and at the same time only mindful of my 
ancestors and posterity) never to think of continuing this line of our 
family but upon such a foundation in respect of fortune as may be at 
least somewhat a.dequate to their condition in other respects." 

The passage in respect to Brighton is probably one of the earliest 
notices we have of the rising popularity of that extraordinary town as a 
watering-place. 

The worthy baronet adhered to his resolution, and died a bachelor 
not long after the date of this letter, viz., ist June, 1760. 

In a pedigree which Sir Edward sent to Mr. Wilson, he thus de- 
scribes his mother in a tone of excellent feeling : — " Elizabeth, daughter 
of William Hutchinson, Esqr., of Uckfield, in Sussex, mercer, descended 
of a good gentlemanly family, bearing arms;- but, however this may be, 
a most virtuous good wife and mother, and (I thank God) now living." 

Sir Edward was succeeded in his title and the remnant of his estates 
by his brother, Sir Thomas Spencer Wilson, Coloiiel of the 50th Foot, 
Knight of the Shire for the County, and sixth baronet, the gallant 
soldier who fought at Minden, and great-grandfather to the present Sir 
Spencer Maryon Maryon Wilson, the representative of a long line of 
ancestors, and tenth baronet in succession to the title. 

Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, seventh baronet, married Elizabeth, the 
daughter of Commander James, Royal Navy. Sir Thomas Maryon died 
in the year 1824, and was succeeded in his title and estates by his son. 
Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, eighth baronet and Justice of the Peace for 
the county of Kent. 

Sir Thomas was one of the old bench of magistrates who sat at the 
Green Man Hotel before the Police-court was established. There was 
^ deal of parochial business and government matters to attend to, in 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 8 1 

which Sir Thomas interested himself very much, as he also did in the 
various charities in the neighbourhood, by granting the use of the park 
and grounds of Charlton House for fetes and tournaments for the 
benefit of the Kent Dispensary and other local charities. Sir Thomas 
saw many changes during his long career in serving his Queen and 
Country. He died in the uniform of a West Kent volunteer, in the 
year 1869, and was the last of the family that was interred in the family 
vault under the church at Charlton. 

He was succeeded in the title to the estates and the baronetcy by 
his brother, John Maryon Wilson, of Fitz- Johns, Essex, who married 
Julia, daughter of George Wade, Esq., of Dunmow. Sir John Maryon 
was a plain, good country gentleman, during his short residence at 
Charlton House. He died in the year 1874, and was buried in a vault 
in Charlton Cemetery. He was the ninth baronet 

His son. Sir Spencer Maryon Maryon Wilson, succeeded him, being 
the tenth baronet in succession to the title since the creation of the first 
baronet. Sir William Wilson (13th Charles II.), who died in 1685. 

The long pedigree of this ancient family dates from the year 1250. 
There were fifteen Mr. Wilsons prior to the baronetcy ; the most distin^ 
guished of them being the Dr. Thomas Wilson mentioned in the early 
part of this chapter. 

In oijr next chapter we shall treat of the remainder of Charlton and 
the estates westwards to Greenwich. 



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-7T^V A ■ "i' ^^^ ^% 




CHAPTER VII. 

Plumstead Board of Works, and Offices — Eastcombe Park — The Woodlands — 
Mr. Angerstein — George III. at The Woodlands — Mr. Angerstein's Success as an 
Underwriter — Vanburgh Bastille and Fields — Greenwich Park and Palace — The 
Royal Owners of Greenwich Palace — Queen Elizabeth and the Citizens of London 
— A German Baron's Account of Queen Elizabeth's Court — Greenwich Hospital 
Founded— The Painted Hall -The Uses of the Hospital, Past and Present— The 
Ranger's House — Greenwich Market — Greenwich Parish Church. 

||HE local government of our neighbourhood is vested in the 
Plumstead District Board of Wprks, whose offices, situate 
at Old Charlton, were erected on land leased from Sir Thomas 
Maryon Wilson for seventy years from 1862. These offices are for the 
transaction of business of the four following parishes and the liberty of 
•Kidbrook, and consists of thirty-eight members, viz. : — for Charlton, 
nine ; Eltham, six ; Lee, nine ; Plumstead, twelve ; Kidbrook, two. 

The members for Lee who attend the Board's offices every alternate 
Wednesday, and the committee at Lee, every alternate Thursday, are : 
Messrs. Henry Couchman, William Brown, James Richard Lloyd, 
William Thomas Gates, Francis Hosier Hart, Henry Richard Wright, 
Frederick Booker, Alfred Cooper Cole, and Benjamin Mailer. Medi- 
cal officer, Mr. Joseph Burton; Surveyor, Mr. Francis F. Thome; 
Inspector, Mr. Walter Brigden. 

About half a mile west of Charlton Church is Eastcombe Park, with 
its fine modern mansion, formerly the seat of the Dowager Countess of 
Buckinghamshire ; the present occupier is Charles Samuel Millington, 
Esq. This estate was formerly called " Nethercombe," and was an 
appendage to the Manor of Lewisham, which together with the said 
manor, was given to St. Peter's Abbey at Ghent. On the suppression 
of the alien priories, Henry V. transferred it to his new priory at Sheen, 
where it remained till 23rd Henry VIII., when it was exchanged, and 
reverted to the Crown, who disposed of this and other lands. Some 
years after, it became the property ot the Sandersons. Sir William San- 
derson, created baronet in 1720, lived here; and Lady Sanderson, who 
survived her husband, died possessed of this property in 1780; when it 
came to the Right Hon. Frederick Montague, heir-at-law. The mansion 
commands a most picturesque view of the park, and the river Thames, 
with all its varied craft 

These grounds are kindly lent by Mr. Millington for the summer 
exhibition of the Charlton Horticultural Society — a society which the 
Dowager Lady Wilson has taken much interest in, promoting its welfare 
in every possible way. 

A handsome seat called " Woodlands," lies between Eastcombe and 
Westcombe Parks, which was built by John Julius Angerstein, Esq., an 
opulent Russian merchant and underwriter. It is a fine structure, and 
is elegantly fitted, having a well-chosen collection of pictures ; some of 
these, however, were sold by Mr. Angerstein to the Government in time 
of George III., one the famous picture " Tragedy and Comedy," by Sir 
Joshua Reynolds, and a fine painting by Reubens, also one by Vandyck. 
Mr. Angerstein also had a ;^2ooo note in a gilt frame. 



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HISTORY OF LEE 83 

The grounds are delightfully situate and pleasant, and the view of 
them from the Thames is charming. There is a fine botanic garden, 
allowed to contain one of the most extensive collections of azaleas, 
rhododendrons, heaths, and curious plants, in the kingdom. 

Mr. Angerstein, in or about the year 18 15, employed Mr. Sidery, 
builder, of Lee, to construct a room heated by hot-air flues, in order to 
prolong his life ; and after the completion of the room, invited the king, 
George III., to Woodlands, in order to explain to his Majesty how he 
obtained the comforts of a warm room by means of these hot-air flues 
instead of an open fire-grate, keeping the heat at 65** Fahr. His 
Majesty, after inspecting Mr. Angerstein's amateur mode of warming, 
concluded his visit with expressing the hope that he might live for many 
years to enjoy the room of his own invention ; but, with a gracious bow, 
he added : " Mr. Angerstein, I prefer for my own part a good old 
English open fire-stove, with a charming fire of Wallsend coals." 

Mr. Angerstein was very fortunate and successful at the beginning 
of the present century, during the war with France, as an underwriter, 
insuring the cargoes of merchantmen and traders, who were harassed 
and plundered by French privateers forming a blockade on the different 
ports, and discomfiting them on the seas, from one hemisphere to an- 
other. On one occasion very grave doubts were entertained about the 
safe return of a fleet of our traders, which were trebly insured by Mr. 
Angerstein ; but on their leaving Hamburgh with their convoy, when 
they sighted some French privateers with sails to windward, the captains 
of our merchantmen adopted a novel plan, and formed in double line 
as if prepared for naval action, and the weather, being at the time hazy, 
assisted in deceiving the Frenchmen, who evidently thought it was the 
English Fleet, and steered away chagrined at the loss of so valuable a 
prize. . Our traders and convoy being well equipped escaped, and 
arrived safely in the Port of London, much to the interest of Mr. Anger- 
stein, who made a princely fortune on this occasion ; and the crews of 
the fleet received the thanks of the merchants of London. 

Whether Mr. Angerstein's hot-air room had the desired effect of 
prolonging that gentleman's" life we know not; but it is a fact that he 
lived to a very advanced age. He died at Woodlands in 1823, in his 
ninety-seventh year. 

The next place of note adjoining Woodlands is Vanburgh Fields, at 
the summit of Maize Hill, Greenwich, in which is a house built by the 
celebrated Sir John Vanburgh, in 17 17, in imitation, it is said, of a part 
of the late Bastille at Paris, in which Sir John was confined for some 
time. Not far from it are other houses in the same style of architecture 
which are approached under a gateway of a style to correspond. One 
of these houses is called The Castle, and was the seat of the late Lord 
Tyrawley ; another is called Ivy House. 

On the opposite side of the road is Greenwich Park, which was first 
walled round with brick by James I., and Charles II. enlarged and 
planted it further, chiefly with Scotch firs, Spanish chesnuts, elms, and 
whitethorns. The park was designed by the once famous Le Notre, from 
Paris, and contains about 200 acres, well stocked with deer, and affords 
as much variety, in proportion to its size, as any in the kingdom. It is 
vested in the Crown. 

The higher part of the park, adjoining Blackheath, is One-Tree Hill 
and Observatory Hill, the views from which, particularly the former, are 
beautiful beyond imagination. The elevation of these hills is so bold. 



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84 HISTORY OF LEE 

that the eye rests not upon a gradually falling slope or flat enclosure, 
but alights at once upon the tops of spreading trees, which grow in 
knots or clumps out of deep hollows or umbrageous dells. The cattle 
feeding on the lawns, which appear in breaks among them, seem moving 
in a region of fairy land. A thousand natural openings among the 
branches of the trees break upon little picturesque views of the swelling 
turf, which, when illuminated by the sun, have an effect that is pleasing 
beyond power of fancy to imagine — this is the foreground of the land- 
scape. A little further the eye falls on the noble Hospital in the midst * 
of an amphitheatre of wood. And beyond the two reaches of the river 
form the beautiful serpentine which surrounds what is called the Isle of 
Dogs, and exhibit the floating commerce of the Thames. To the west 
appears a fine tract of country leading to the capital, which there termi- 
nates the beautiful prospect. 

The Observatory was erected originally by Charles II. for the use of 
the celebrated Flamstead, whose name the house retains. He furnished 
it with mathematical instruments for astronomical observations, which 
have undergone great improvements, and are said to be the best in 
Europe. From the meridian of this Observatory all English astronomers 
and navigators make their calculations ; the latitude of its transit room 
is determined to be 51° 28' 40'' N. After the death of Flamstead, the 
successive Astronomers Royal were Dr. Halley and John Pound, Esq., 
both of whom are buried in the same vault in Lee old churchyard. 

In the year 141 7, Greenwich Manor became vested in Humphry, 
Duke of Gloucester, who obtained from Henry VI. a licence to fortify 
and embattle his Manor House, and to form a park of 200 acres, and 
accordingly he rebuilt the. palace, and enclosed the park with oak 
palings. From the pleasantness of its situation he called it " Placentia^" 
or " Manor of Pleasaunce." After the duke's death, which occurred in 
1447, it reverted to the Crown, and became the favourite residence of 
Edward IV. 

The palace was enlarged by Henry VII., and finished by Henry VIII., 
who was born here, June 28th, 149 1. This king, who exceeded all his 
predecessors in the sumptuoiisness of his buildings, spared no expense 
in rendering this palace magnificent. Leland the antiquary, who was 
librarian to his Majesty, and an eyewitness of its beauties, says : — " In 
the 19th year of Henry VIII. an embassy was sent over from France, 
which, in order that it might correspond with our Court in magnificence, 
consisted of eight persons of high quality and merit in France, attended 
by six hundred horse, received here by the king with the greatest marks 
of honour, and entertained in a njore splendid manner than had ever 
been seen before." 

The same writer, in his " Itinerary," thus describes the palace and 
its beauties ; — 

** Lo I with what lustre shines this wish'd-for place, 
Which, star-like, might the heavenly mansions grace. 
What painted roofs ! what windows charm the eye I 
What turrets, rivals of the starry sky ! 
What constant springs ! what verdant meads besides ! 
Where Flora's self in majesty resides, 
And, beauteous, all around her does dispense, 
With bounteous hand, her flowery influence. 
Happy the man whose lucky wit could frame, 
To suit this place, so elegant a name, — 
Expressing all its beauties in the same." 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 85 

Many royal persons have been born in this palace ; amongst them 
Henry VI 1 1., his brother Edmund, and Edward VI. ; and Queen Mary 
and her sister Queen Elizabeth. The latter princess, during her infancy, 
was often taken to Eltham Palace in order to give her the benefit of the 
fine bracing air. She grew remarkably fond of Eltham, and resided 
much there, owing to its proximity to her palace at Greenwich. Queen 
Elizabeth made several additions to the Greenwich building. 
^ During her Majesty^s reign, the Court were at times entertained at 
Greenwich by her faithful subjects ; one memorable occasion being on 
July 2nd, 1559, when the City of London entertained the Queen there 
with a muster of each City Company, who sent out a number of men-at- 
arms, in all, fourteen hundred, to her Majesty's great delight and satis- 
faction, the expression of which pleased the Citizens as much, and pro- 
duced a mutual love and affection between them. They marched out 
of London on the ist July, in coats of velvet and chains, with guns, 
morris-pikes, halberds, and flags, over London Bridge to the Duke of 
Suffolk's Park in Southwark, where they mustered before the Lord 
Mayor, laying abroad that night in St. George's Fields. The next 
morning they moved towards Greenwich, to the park, where they stayed 
till eight o'clock, and then marched down to the lawn in front of the 
palace, all carrying arms, and the gunners being in shirts of mail. 

At five o'clock in the afternoon, the Queen came into the gallery 
over the park gate, with the Ambassadors, Lords, and Ladies to a great 
number. The Lord Marquis, Lord Admiral, Lord Dudley, and many 
other nobles and knights, rode to and fro to view them, and set the 
two armies in array, to skirmish before the Queen. Then the trumpets 
began to blow, the drums were beat, and the flutes tuned up. There 
were three onsets in each battle > the guns discharged on one another, 
the morris-pikes encountered together with great alarm, and each ran to 
their weapons again, and fell together as fast as they could in imitation 
of a close fight. All this while, the Queen and the nobility about her 
beheld the skirmishing and retreats. 

At the finish, Mr. Chamberlain and several Commons of the City, 
and the visitors came before the Queen, who heartily thanked them and 
all the City ; whereupon the greatest shout was immediately given that 
ever was heard, with hurUng up of caps, etc. ; and the Queen showed 
herself very merry. After this was running at tilt, and then all departed 
home to London. 

Baron Hentzner, a German, who visited England in 1589, gives a 
curious and authentic account of the Court of Elizabeth here, in his 
" Itinerary," which was printed by the Hon. Mr. Walpole, of Strawberry 
Hill, in 1757. "The presence chamber," he observes, "was hung with 
rich tapestry, and, according to the English fashion, strewed with hay. 
When the Queen came out to go to prayers, she was attended in the 
following manner : — first went the Gentlemen, Barons, Earls, Knights of 
the Garter, all richly dressed and bare-headed ; next came the Chan- 
cellor, bearing the seals in a red silk purse, between two and two, one 
of whom carried the royal sceptre, the other the Sword of State, in a red 
scabbard, studded with gold fleur-de-lis, the point upwards ; next came 
the Queen, in the sixty-fifth year of her age," as we are told, " very 
majestic ; her face oblong, fair but wrinkled ; her eyes small, yet black 
and pleasant ; her nose a little hooked ; her Ups narrow, and her teeth 
black (a defect the English seem subject to from their too great use of 
sugar) ; she had in her ears two pearls, with very rich drops ; she wore 

6—2 



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S6 HISTORY OF LEE 

false hair, and that red ; upon her head she had a small crown, reported 
to be made of some of the gold of the celebrated Luneburg table. Her 
bosom was uncovered, as is the fashion with all the English ladies before 
they marry, and she had on a necklace of exceedingly fine jewels ; her 
hands were small, but her fingers long, and her stature neither tall nor 
low ; her air was stately, and her manner of speaking mild and obliging. 
That day she was dressed in white silk, bordered with pearls of the size 
of beans, and over it a mantle of black silk, shot with silver threads ; 
her train was very long, the end of it borne by a Marchioness ; instead 
of a chain she had an oblong chain of gold and jewels. As she went 
along in all this state and magnificence, she spoke very graciously, first 
to one, then to the other, whether Foreign Ministers, or those who 
attended for different reasons, in English, French, German, or Italian ; 
for she is well skilled in Greek and Latin; also she is mistress of 
Spanish, Scotch, and Dutch ; whoever speaks to her, it is kneeling ; now 
and then, she raises some with her hands ; wherever she turned her 
face, as she was going, everybody fell down on their knees. The ladies 
of the Court follow next to her, very handsome and well shaped, and 
for the most part dressed in white. She was guarded on each side by 
the gentlemen pensioners, fifty in number, with gilt battle-axes. In the 
ante-chapel, next the hall, where we were, some petitions were presented 
to her, and she received them most graciously, which occasioned the 
acclammation * Long live Queen Elizabeth.* — * I thank you, my good 
people.* " 

Elizabeth was here in 1600, as appears from a passage in the Sydney 
Papers, and used to " walk much in the park, and the great walks about 
the park." 

King James I. frequently resided here ; and the Princess Mary and 
others of his children were born here. 

Considerable additions were made to the buildings by Queen Anne 
of Denmark, who laid the foundations of the " House of Delight," in 
the park, which was completed by Henrietta Maria, Queen of Charles I., 
who employed the celebrated Inigo Jones as architect ; and it is charac- 
terised by the late Lord Orford as one of the most beautiful of his 
works. The ceilings were painted by Horatio Gensileschi, and the whole 
building was finished so magnificently, that Philpot says " It surpassed 
all others of the kind in England." 

After the Restoration, Charles II., finding the whole in a ruinous 
state, ordered it to be pulled down, and commenced a new palace, of 
free-stone, on a most magnificent plan, on the same spot. The king 
lived to see but one wing completed, at the expense of ;^36,ooo, and in 
that his Majesty occasionally resided. 

In the year 1694, Kling William III. and his royal consort, Mary, by 
letters patent, granted the palace, with other buildings and certain land 
adjoining to the Lord Keeper Somers, the Duke of Leeds, the Earl of 
Pembroke and Montgomery, the Earl of Shrewsbury, Sydney Lord 
Godolphin, and others, in trust, " to erect and found an Hospital for the 
relief and support of Seamen serving on board the ships and vessels 
belonging to the Navy Royal of England, our heirs and successors, or 
employed in ours or their service at sea, who by reason of age, wounds, 
or disabilities, shall be incapable of any further service at sea, and 
unable to maintain themselves ; and for the sustentation of the widows, 
and the maintenance and the education of the children of seamen, 
happening to be slain or disabled in the sea service, and also for the 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 87 

further relief and encouragement of seamen, and improvement of navi- 
gation." 

In the following year, 1695, Queen Mary being then dead, the king 
appointed Commissioners for considering, with the assistance of the 
Surveyor-General and others, what part of King Charles's Palace and 
adjacent buildings, granted for that purpose, would be At for the in- 
tended Hospital, and how they might be prepared ^n the best manner 
for that use ; for procuring the best models for the new buildings, as 
might be required ; for preparing, with the assistance of the Attorney- 
General, a charter of foundation, with statutes and ordinances, for the • 
use of the Hospital, and for other purposes. After the first and second 
meetings, in May, 1695, the Commissioners formed a committee of sixty 
persons, to whom the immediate management of the Foundation was 
intrusted; with Sir Christopher Wren architect, and Mr. John Scar- 
borough clerk of works. Sir Christopher, to his great honour, undertook 
to superintend the work ; and contributed his time and great skill, with- 
out any emolument whatever. 

The foundations of the first new buildings, called Bass Building, 
was laid on the 3rd June, .1696, and the superstructure finished two 
years after. From this period the Hospital has been gradually enlarged 
and improved, until it has obtained its present height of- splendour and 
magnificence. 

In the year 1775 the Commissioners became a body corporate, by 
virtue of a charter of his Majesty George III. This power granted the 
charter for the completion of the buildings, for the provision of seamen 
either within or without the Hospital. It also provided for making bye- 
laws, etc., and also that all the officers of the Hospital should be sea- 
faring men. The business of the Directors was to superintend the 
inspection of the buildings ; to state the accounts and to make con- 
tracts ; and to place boys out as apprentices. The internal regulations 
of the Hospital were vested in the Governor and Council, as appointed . 
under the commission of Queen Anne, in 1703. The Charter was 
followed by an Act of Parliament, which gave the Commissioners thus 
incorporated, all the estates which they held in trust for the benefit of 
the Hospital. 

The governor in the year 18 18 was Sir John Colpoys, whose salary 
was ;^iooo per annum ; the lieutenant-governor, ;^400 ; the captains, 
;^23o; lieutenants, ;^ II 5 each; the steward, ;^ 160; auditor, ^100 ; 
the officers were also allowed a certain quantity of coals and light, and 
fourteen-pence a day in lieu of diet. 

This Hospital is a very magnificent and extensive edifice, of Portland 
stone, consisting of four distinct quadrangular piles of buildings, dis- 
tinguished by the names of the respective monarchs in whose reign they 
were founded and built. 

The Painted Hall of this Hospital is a grand piece of work, and was 
painted by Sir James Thornhill. In the centre of the cupola is a com- 
pass, w^ith its proper points duly bearing ; and in the coving are the four 
winds, in alto-relievo. Eurus (the east-wind), arising out of the east, 
winged with a lighted torch in his right hand, as bringing light to the 
earth ; with his left hand he seems to push the morning star out of the 
firmament ; the demi-figures and boys which form the group show the 
morning dews that fall before him. Auster (the south wind), with wings 
dropping water, is pressing forth rain from a bag, the gods near him 



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88 HISTORY OF LEE 

scattering far and wide thunder and lightning. Zephynis (the west 
wind) is a figure playing the flute, denoting the pleasures of spring ; and 
is accompanied by little zephyrs, who scatter flowers around them. 
Boreas (the north wind) has dragon's wings, denoting his fury; and 
whose boisterous companions are flinging about hailstones and snow. 

Over the 'three doors are large oval tablets, with the names in gold 
betters of those who gave ;^ioo and upwards towards the building; 
amongst the most considerable of whom were King William IV., who 
gave ]Q 19,500; Queen Anne, ;^6,427; John de la Fontain, Esq., Sir J. 
Crople, and Mr. Evelyn, ;^2,ooo each ; Robt. Osbolston, Esq., ;^20,ooo ; 
John Evelyn, Esq., ^1,000. Each table is attended by two charity 
boys, painted as if carved white marble, sitting on great corbels, pointing 
to a figure of Charity, in a niche, intimating that what money is given 
there is for their support. 

Of the money which was received in former times for showing the 
hall, threepence in the shilling was allowed to the person who showed it, 
and the remainder made an excellent fund for the maintenance of not 
less than twenty boys, the sons of slain or disabled mariners ; and out 
of this fund the boys were entirely provided for, and taught such a share 
of learning in mathematics, as fitted them for the sea-service. For the 
better support of this Hospital, every seaman, whether in the Royal 
Navy or Merchant service, paid sixpence a month. 

The Hospital continued to be used as a home for naval pensioners 
until the year 1865, when the buildings were required for the use of the 
Naval College, and the pensioners were "accordingly dispersed to their 
native homes. An idea of the usefulness of the Hospital in this respect 
may be gathered from the following record of what obtained there in 
1820. At that time there were about 2410 pensioners and 700 boys on 
the establishment. Each of the mariners had a weekly allowance of 
seven quartern loaves, three pounds of beef, two of mutton, a pint of 
peas, a pound and a quarter of cheese, butter, and fourteen quarts of 
beer, and one shilling tobacco money, but the latter to the boatswains 
was half-a-crown a week each. 

The Naval Asylum was on the south side of the park, and was a 
noble structure, its centre being formed by the Palace of Henrietta 
Maria, Queen to King Charles I., and latterly called Pelham House, 
from that family, who were the rangers of the park. Greenwich Hospital 
is now used as a College for the higher education of Naval Officers ; 
there are generally about 200 officers studying there, under the superin- 
tendence of a President, an Admiral, and a Captain, with a staff" of 
professors. 

The Greenwich Hospital School Board also educates 1,000 boys, 
the sons of seamen and marines, who are admitted on the claims of 
the fathers, by a committee of selection. 

The former infirmary is lent to the Seamen's Hospital Society (late 
the Dreadnought), and makes up about 220 beds. Seamen of all 
nations are admitted without tickets ; they have only to prove that they 
are sailors. The Hospital is supported by voluntary contributions. 

The Ranger's House is now on the west side of the Park, a noble red 
brick building, with Portland stone dressings. And at the south-west 
corner of the Park stood the late Duke of Montague's, since the Duke 
of Buccleugh's, and afterwards Charlotte, Princess of Wales's, which was 
pulled down by order of George IV., and the ground laid to the Ranger's 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 89 

house, then occupied by the Earl of Chesterfield ; afterwards by the 
Duchess of Brunswick, Princess Sophia of Gloucester, Lord Haddo, and 
Prince Arthur, the present ranger being the Countess of Mayo ; the next 
mansion belongs to Lord Lyttelton; these have a pleasant walk in 
front, with a double row of trees; called Chesterfield Walk, extending to 
Croom's Hill. 

It is not the writer's intention to treat much of the town of Green- 
wich, as that borough is worthy of a volume to itself. 

Greenwich, before the railways were made, was the market town for 
the inhabitants of this rural neighbourhood ; and the market gardeners 
of Greenwich, Lee, Eltham, Lewisham, and Charlton, had stalls in the 
market, which formerly stood at the north end of the infirmary, and was 
a spacious area, with a fine stone market-house in the centre. 

The old parish church of Greenwich was dedicated to St. Alpheg^, 
Archbishop of Canterbury, who is said to have been slain by the Danes 
in 1 01 1, on the very spot where the church was afterwards built. This 
church had become so ruinous, that about midnight on November 28th, 
1 7 10, the roof fell in. 

The new church was one of fifty that were erected in London and 
its suburbs in the time of Queen Anne. It was consecrated Sept. 29th, 
1 7 18. It is a handsome stone fabric, constructed in the Grecian order; 
Sir Christopher Wren, architect. 



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CHAPTER VIIL 

Blackheath — Montague House — Caverns on the Hill and Heath — Discoveries by 
Dr. Plot and Others — Earthquake in 1749 — The Heath as a Soldiers* Encamping 
Ground — As a Meeting Place for Processions — ^Volunteers* Drill Ground — Lewis- 
ham Manor purchased by Admiral Geoi^e Legge — The Dartmouth Family — 
Lewisham Parish Church — The Rev. Abraham Colfe — Lewisham Village, and 
Old Mansions — Hither Green — Eastdown Park and Former Nurseries — Returns 
of Lewisham Union for Year ending Lady Day, 1881. 

I LACKHEATH is situated partly in the parishes of Charlton, 
Greenwich, and Lewisham, and derives its name probably 
from the black soil which extends over the greater portion of 
it. It is a beautiful elevated plain, commanding some noble prospects, 
particularly from that part called "The Point." Blackheath has been 
considerably improved during the present century by the erection of 
numerous elegant villas for the residence of well-to-do families — The 
Paragon and Montpelier-row on the south side, Eliot Vale and Aber- 
deen Terrace on the west 

The great road from London to Dover crosses the Heath. At the 
top of the hill leading from Deptford is the Green Man Hotel and 
Lansdowne Place, in front of which is Chocolate Row. This part com- 
mands a fine view eastwards towards Shooters' HilL There were for- 
merly two windmills on this heath, near the pits leading from the Dover 
Road to Blackheath Village, which, with Whitfield's Mount, aCnd 
Montague House with its ivy conical tower, were a charming and 
rural scene. At the foot of the point, about half-way up Black- 
heath-hill, on the north side, at no yards distance, a curious cavern was 
discovered in 1780, by workmen employed in laying the foundations of 
a house. The entrance is by a flight of forty steps, descending about 
150 feet; this leads into a range of four irregular rooms, or apartments, 
from 12 to 36 feet wide (one of them was measured by Mr. Edwards, 
the topographer, in the year 18 18, and was about 30 by 60 feet), which 
have a communication with each other by small avenues. One of the 
apartments had a large conical dome, 36 feet high and 43 yards in cir- 
cumference, supported by columns of chalk. The bottom of the cavern is 
50 feet from the entrance, and at the extremities 160 feet. The bottom of 
these rooms is fine dry sand, and the side roofs are rock chalk ; in the 
southernmost part there was a well 27 feet deep, which supplied very 
fine soft water. The greatest depth of the lower part of the cavern from 
the surface is nearly 170 feet, and from the rear to the entrance is nearly 
the same. These caverns are approached by easy steps, and the rooms 
are perfectly dry and lighted. They are supposed to have communicated 
with others which extend under Blackheath. Mr. John Winn, who then 
kept the Sun Inn, at the hill, informed us that about the year 1800 the 
earth dropped into an arched tunnel of chalk, north of the turnpike 
road, opposite these caverns, and that he and others went a great distance 
under the road, towards the Heath; and about the year 1820 another 
place, not far from the large windmill near Whitfield's Mount, dropped 
down in the like manner to a great depth. The truth of this statement 



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HISTORY OF LEE 9 1 

can be vouched for by the writer, he being one that entered this cavern 
at the end of the gravel pit, near the pond at the Mount ; it was then 
shown by a man from Lee, who charged 3d each for the use of candles. 
This cavern has fallen in on several occasions since that date, within the 
past 60 years, which the writer knows from experience. The many 
sinkings of the earth in v^ious parts of the Heath arose from the water 
permeating from the ponds and springs in the neighbourhood, carrying 
away with it the quicksand into the drains and sewers on the low lands 
surrounding the Heath. There are also the remains of tumuli, or 
barrows, one of which was of a large size, mentioned by Dr. Plot In 
the year 17 10 many urns were dug up here, among them two of unusual 
form — one globular, the other cylindrical, about eighteen inches in 
length, both of them of a fine red clay. The globular one was very 
smooth and thin ; its circumference was six feet three inches ; it had 
ashes in it, but no coins under the rim ; about the mouth of it " Marcus 
Avrelivs IV." was rudely written. The other contained a great quantity 
of ashes, and in the cavit)' at the end were seven coins, much obliterated, 
but on one of them was legible the word " Cladivs," and on one other, 
" Gallienvs." Dr. Plot also mentions that a glass turn had been found 
on the Heath, in a bed of gravel. There were also found in 1803, 
in the grounds of the Earl of Dartmouth, about one foot below the 
gravel, which here forms the natural surface of the ground, several 
Roman urns, and they were presented by his lordship to the British 
Museum. 

On the left-hand side of the high road, near the gate which leads to 
Croom^s Hill, there were above fifty of these ancient barrows, and about 
the same number within the park. In the year 1 784, the Rev. Mr. 
Douglas, F.A.S., the then Vicar of Preston and Hove, near Brighton, 
having obtained permission to open those in the park, found lumps of 
iron and broad-headed nails, with decayed wood adhering to them, by 
which he conjectured that the bodies had been interred in very thick 
coffins. A considerable quantity of human hair, spear heads, knives, 
fragments of limbs, and remains of woollen cloths, were also found, and 
were, on that account (and from the fact that no military weapons were 
found in the coffins), supposed to contain female bodies. This cluster 
of barrows was of a circular form, about one hundred feet in diameter, 
and the graves were very shallow. 

At the beginning of the seventeenth century, some ground on this 
spot was dug up, when several things of value were found. About the 
same time as these barrows were explored, Mr. Douglas opened those 
above mentioned on the road to Groom's Hill, which he conceived to 
be lower British. They contained beads similar to those which were 
found in the coffins that contained the coins, and he declared that they 
belonged to the 5 th and 6th century. He discovered the remains of a 
garment, and a braid of human hair of an auburn colour ; remains of 
cloth, both woollen and linen, of different fineness and texture. Some 
' of these graves did not exceed three feet in depth. 

Mr. Douglas, some years ago, published a large volume in folio, 
which contained a great many engravings of different pieces of antiquity 
discovered by him, in various parts of the kingdom, which were faith- 
fully delineated and etched by himself A copy of it was shown to Dr. 
Plot, and at the time he was informed by Mr. Douglas that it was out 
of print, and that they had been accidentally destroyed by fire. A 
curious circumstance is mentioned here by Christopher Mason, Esq., 



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92 HISTORY OF LEE 

about the year 1749, respecting the shocks of an earthquake, that shook 
the houses in London and for many miles around in a surprising 
manner : "At my habitation on the summit of Groom's Hill, as my wife 
was sitting by the fire, it shook the room, flung down the poker and 
tongs, rattled the chayney upon the cabinetts, but did not do other 
damage than frighten the inhabitants into a panic. I myself was walking 
on Tower Hill, and I heard the noise, which resembled a proof of 
guns, but we felt no motion of the earth." 

The Danes had an encampment on this Heath, about the year ion, 
and it has many times since been the station of a military force ; there 
are also many trenches and other remains of lines of camps still visible. 
In the year 1381 the rebels, under Wat Tyler, with Jack Straw and John 
Ball, and their insolent adherents, lay encamped here for some time, 
with a rabble of nearly 100,000 men. In the year 1450, Jack Cade, the 
counterfeit Mortimer, twice occupied the same place. On the 23rd of 
February, 145 1, the King was met at this place by a great many of 
Cade's deluded followers, in their shirts, who humbly on their knees 
craved for pardon. King Henry VI. pitched his royal pavilion here, 
when he was preparing to oppose the forces of his cousin Edward, Duke 
of York (afterwards King Edward TV.). The bastard Falconbridge 
encamped here against the King in the year 147 1. In 1497 Lord 
Audley and the Cornish rebels, amounting to 6,000 men, encamped on 
this heath, where they waited the arrival of Henry VII. and his army, 
when a battle ensued, on the 22nd of July, the rebels were discomfited, 
and 2,000 slain and their chiefs taken and executed. One of them was 
Michael Joseph, a farrier, and another, Thomas Hammock, a lawyer. 
The site of the farrier's tent was shewn when Lambarde wrote his 
perambulation of Kent ; it was termed the smith's forge, as Joseph had 
followed the occupation of a smith, as well as a farrier. 

Blackheath has also been the scene of various triumphal processions 
and meetings of crowned heads, attended with much splendid pageantry. 
Here King Henry IV., in the year 1400, met the Emperor of Constan- 
tinople, just after his arrival in England, with great parade and magni- 
ficence, to solicit assistance against Bazazet, Emperor of the Turks. 
Here, on the 23rd November, 14 15, the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of 
London, with 400 citizens, clothed in scarlet, with red and white hoods, 
met the victorious monarch, Henry V., returning from the field of Agin- 
court. Here also the citizens met the Emperor Sigismund in the year 
1.4 1 6, who came to mediate a peace between France and England. He 
was attended by the Duke of Gloucester aud many other lords, with 
very great pomp and magnificence, and by them conducted to Lambeth, 
where he was met by King Henry V. In 1474 the Lord Mayor and 
Aldermen of London, in scarlet, with 500 citizens, all in murrey gowns, 
met King Edward IV. here, on his return from France. In 15 19, a 
solemn embassy, consisting of the Admiral of France, the Bishop of 
Paris, and others, with no less than 1,200 persons in their train, was met 
here by the Lord Admiral of England, and above five hundred gentle- 
men. The same year Cardinal Campejus, sent to England by tiie Pope 
as his legate, was received on this heath by the Duke of Norfolk, and a 
great number of prelates, knights, and gentlemen, who conducted him 
to a rich tent of cloth of gold, where the Cardinal changed his habit, 
and having put on the cardinal's robes, edged with ermine, rode from 
hence in much state to London* A still more grand procession was 
that which appeared at this place at the meeting between Henry VIII., 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 93 

in the 31st year of his reign, and the Lady Anne Cleeve, on the 
3rd of January, 1540. The chronicles inform us that she came down 
Shooters' Hill at twelve o'clock, and then alighted at the tent of cloth of 
gold, prepared on the heath for her reception. The King, having notice 
of her arrival, went through the park to meet her, attended by most of 
the nobility, the bishops, the heralds, the foreign ambassadors, &c. The 
procession from the heath to Greenwich Palace was attended by those 
in the King's and Princess's train — about 600 in number — by 1200 
citizens and others, clad in velvet, with chains of gold, and by most of 
the lady nobility, and a number of the city ladies. All the city barges 
were on the water near the Palace, and the procession was saluted with 
peals of the artillery from the tower in the park. The rilarriage ceremony 
was performed in the Chapel at Greenwich. 

In April and May, 1585, the City Militia, to the number of 5,000, 
mustered before Queen Elizabeth at Greenwich, completely armed, for 
eight days, and encamped on the heath. 

On the 23rd of May, 1645, Colonel Blunt, to please the Kentish 
people — ^who were fond of old customs, particularly May games — drew 
out two regiments of foot, and exercised them on this heath, represent- 
ing a mock fight between the Cavaliers and the Roundheads. 

Besides the above, there have been many more remarkable shows 
and meetings held on this heath, it being the place where, generally, 
those of any distinction coming from abroad were met, in order to be 
conducted with proper state and pomp into London. 

Until within a few years prior to 1870, on that part of the heath 
which lies in Lewisham parish, there were two annual fairs, one on the 
1 2th of May, and the other on the nth of October, which were for the 
sale of cattle and toys, held in front of Dartmouth Grove and round the 
Hollies, the residence of the Vicar. 

At the time of the threatened invasion of our shores by the first 
Napoleon and his army, much interest was taken in this neighbourhood 
in making our Volunteers and Militia efficient and of service in protect- 
ing our homes in England. These were severally drilled and inspected, 
and afterwards encamped on this heath, near The Mount They also 
had sham fights near this spot and the windmills ; one, in particular, 
was performed in the presence of Frederic, Duke of York, in 1800. 

Instruction in shooting was given by appointed officers from Wool- 
wich in the pits opposite the Hare and Billet Inn ; now covered with 
some substantial houses and stables. 

This heath was much infested after dark by highwaymen and foot- 
pads, so much so, that nobody was safe without carrying firearms to 
protect themselves. 

Many noble families resided here in elegant handsome buildings ; 
particularly on the south side, where was the Earl of Dartmouth's, and 
Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales's Pagoda. 

Blackheath and the surrounding neighbourhood is described by the 
Poet Noble as follows : — " Blackheath is the name of the place where I 
observed the beauties of the Creation and the productions of social 
ingenuity. Blackheath and its environs are better situated for a wide 
range of contemplation than any spot Where will you find prospects 
more extensive, that at the same time abound with the like grandeur of 
luxurious cultivation ? Behold the magnificence of a mighty city so 
intimately united with rural cottages of the surrounding labourers of 
agriculture ! Your eye seizes at a glance the orchards, gardens, 



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94 HISTORY OF LEE 

meadows, and corn land ; the riches of human society and manufac- 
tories ; also the majestic vessels of the whole earth." 

About the year 1673, George Legge, Esq. purchased the Manor of 
Lewisham and appendages, and part of Blackheath, in the same parish. 
At the same time this gentleman was made Governor of Portsmouth, 
and Master of the Horse and Gentleman of the Bedchamber to the 
Duke of York, Master of Ordnance, and one of his Majesty's Privy 
Council. Being a favourite of Charles II. he was advanced by that 
monarch to the title of Baron Dartmouth, in the year 1683. He pos- 
sessed great skill and experience in military and naval tactics, and was 
made an Admiral in the Royal Navy, which post he continued to fill 
during the reign of James II. In the last year of this king's reign, he 
commanded the Royal Navy Fleet, when the Prince of Orange landed 
in this kingdom ; notwithstanding, he conducted the Fleet safe home, 
and acted by the king's order. He was deprived of all his appointments 
and emoluments at the Revolution, and afterwards lived a quiet life, 
submitting to the new Government. 

Admiral Lord Dartmouth was, however, always suspected of retain- 
ing the old sentiments for his late royal master, with whom he had been 
so long, and who was so kind to him. For this reason, and on account 
of some suggestions that he had carried on a secret correspondence 
with the abdicated king, he was committed to the Tower of London as 
a prisoner. 

While he continued there, some rumours flew abroad that he was 
illtreated, which had such an effect on the sailors, who loved him as a 
father, that they assembled in a great body on Tower Hill, and ex- 
pressed their resentment in such language that it was found expedient 
to desire Lord Dartmouth to confer with them ; and on his assuring 
them that the report they had heard was without any foundation, they 
gave a cheerful " Huzza," and immediately dispersed. It was thought, 
however, that the confinement, and the want of his usual exercise, must 
have contributed to the shortening of his days, for on the 21st October, 
1 69 1, he was seized with apoplexy, and he shortly after died, in the 44th 
year of his age. 

King James receive d the news of his death with a deep sigh, saying 
" Honest and faithful George Legge is dead ! I have few such servants 
now." Lord Dartmouth laid down his command of the Fleet as soon 
as he came on shore, and when he could not act for his master, would 
not, as another favourite did, act against him. 

His relations, at his decease, applied to the Constable of the Tower, 
then Lord Lucas, for leave to remove his body for interment; and the 
king gave express directions that such request should be granted ; and 
on his Majesty being informed that it was intended to bury the deceased 
nobleman near the remains of his father, in a vault belonging to the 
family, in the little Minories Church, he gave further orders that all 
such marks of respect should be paid at his funeral, as would have been 
his due if he had died possessed of all his employments ; — a circum- 
stance equally honourable to the memory of King William and Lord 
Dartmouth, since it shews impartiality and greatness of soul in the 
former, and the true merit of the latter to produce such a testimony 
of respect from so penetrating a judge. 

A monument of white marble, with a suitable inscription, was erected 
to his memory by his consort, Barbara Baroness Dartmouth, who was 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 95 

daughter of Sir Henry Archbold, of Staffordshire, who died in 17 18, 
and is buried by the side of her lord They left one son, William, 
created Earl Dartmouth by her Majesty Queen Anne, in the tenth year 
of her reign. This nobleman was also Secretary of State, and Lord 
Privy Seal in the same reign. 

The Legge Family, from whom the present Earls of Dartmouth are 
lineal descendants, settled at Legge's Place, near Tunbridge, Kent, and 
come in a direct line from Thomas Legge, of that Place, who was sheriff 
of London, in 1343, and twice Lord Mayor, and twice represented the 
city in Parliament. 

In the reign of Henry VIII. the f;?imily settled in Ireland, where 
Edward Legge was Vice-President of Munster, and died in the year 
1 61 6, leaving behind him a very numerous progeny, — six sons and seven 
daughters, all of them distinguished by their great merit. Several of the 
daughters lived to a very extraordinary age : Elizabeth, the eldest, died 
aged 105 years ; Margaret, married to a Mr. Fitz-Gerald, to upwards of 
100; and Anne, the wife of William Anthony, Esq., died in 1702, aged 
112 years. 

But let us now return to the person of whose actions we have the 
memoirs recorded by Bishop Burnet, in his Text. He says that George 
Legge, Baron of Dartmouth, deserves our utmost attention, as he was, 
even in the opinion of those that were opposed to him, one of the ablest 
and best of friends, and a good man of the age in which he lived. And 
further expresses the opinion that he was the worthiest nobleman in the 
Court of James II., to whose fortunes he adhered, though he had always 
opposed the Councils which were the causes of his distress. Bishop 
Burnet, speaking of the uneasiness that King James was under on the 
fitting out of the Dutch Fleet, in 1688, and the preparations he made 
for defending himself, proceeds thus : " His Majesty recalled Strickland, 
and gave the command to Lord Dartmouth, whom he loved, and who 
had been long in his service, and in his confidence ; He served with the 
highest reputation, beating the Dutch out of the Royal Catherine while 
she was sinking, and after he had stopped her leaks, brought her safe 
into harbour. 

There have been many descendants of this family who have served 
their Sovereigns on various occasions, even to her present Majesty, and 
retired to Blackheath, viz., the Hon. Col. Arthur Legge ; the Hon. 
Commissioner Legge ; the Hon. Admiral Legge. Others have served 
the Church of England — The Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Oxford, 
1818 j the Hon. and Rev. Henry Legge, LL.D., late Vicar of Lewisham ; 
the Hon. and Rev. Canon Legge, at present time Vicar of Lewisham. 

In ancient records Lewisham is spelt " Levesham," and is derived 
from the Saxon Zeves or Zeswes, signifying " pastures," and Mm, a 
"town" or "village." We find the following account of this place in 
Domesday Book, under "The Greenwich Hundred": — "The Abbot of 
Ghent holds Levesham of King Edward. It was rated at two sowlings 
under the Saxon kings and Norman government. The tolls or duties 
of the port yield 40s, The whole manor in the reign of the Confessor 
was valued at sixteen pounds ; and subsequently it was estimated at 
thirty." 

With reference to the " tolls and duties of the port " just mentioned, 
a great deal of the merchandise brought into Lewisham was by small 
boats up the RaVensbourne, which received their goods from the bargee 
that came up the river as far as Deptford Bridge. 



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96 HISTORY OF LEE 

The greater part of the village lies low and flat, and is subject to 
inundations from the Riva: Ravensbourne in the winter and spring of 
the year. The road through Lewisham leads to Bromley, and one 
branches off north-east to Eltham and Maidstone. 

The Commission of Enquiry into the Value of Church Livings, 
made in 1650, by Order of the Court of Chancery, returned that " the 
Lewisham Vicarage was worth ;;^i2o per annum. Master Abraham 
Colfe enjoying it "; that " the house and 54 acres of glebe land besides 
were worth ^£^4 per annum. The vicarage is valued in the King's 
Books at ;£2^ igs, 2d, ; the yearly tenths being ;^2 yj. iid. 

In the year 1774 the church being adjudged incapable of repair, and 
too small for the numerous inhabitants, the parishioners applied to Par- 
liament for an Act to empower them to raise ;^5,ooo by life annuities, 
to rebuild it. This Act was obtained, and in pursuance thereof the old 
church was taken down, and a new one erected on the same foundation, 
which was finished in 1777. The length of it is about 100 feet, and 
width 60 feet : it is built of stone, and has a large tower, with eight 
tuneful bells ; it has also a fine chancel window. It is dedicated to 
St. Mary, and is in the Diocese of Rochester. Considerable alterations 
and additions to the church are being made at the present time. On 
November 5 th, 1881, the foundation-stone of a new chancel was laid by 
the Countess Dartmouth. 

Over the window before mentioned is fixed a memorial stone to 
the Rev. Abraham Colfe, who was Vicar of this parish for forty-seven 
years, and was a great benefactor to the parish and to several adjoining 
ones. He founded, in his lifetime, two free schools, one for teaching 
English and the other for teaching Latin ; the oversight and govern- 
ment of which he committed to the Worshipful Company of Leather- 
sellers of London. The Rev. Thomas Waite was master at the school 
on Lewisham Hill in the year 1820. 

The Rev. Mr. Colfe also founded six almshouses for six poor 
women, which stand, a short distance south of the church, in the main 
street. He died in 1657. 

In the sixteenth year of the reign of Charles II. an Act was passed 
for settling his charitable gifts for maintaining six alms-people, which 
gave to each ;;^22 155. and a gown (;^2 55.) per annum. Besides the 
above, he left by will, for the benefit of the poor of Lewisham, houses 
and land to produce annually £2 4s. ; for poor persons attending 
prayers at church ;£i per annum ; and for books for poor persons j£i 
per annum ; and to be paid to every maid-servant on her marriage 5^. ; 
all likewise vested in the saine Company. 

Margaret, widow of Jasper Valentine, and afterwards the wife of the 
Rev. Abraham Colfe, gave by will 20s, yearly to the poor for ever. 

Lewisham High-street, upwards of a mile and a half in length, lies 
on a gradual slope from the south. There was formerly a stream of 
pure water running between the road and footpath, pent up by different 
sluices, which formed reservoirs from Rushey Green to Lewisham 
Bridge, before uniting with the Ravensbourne, and which, in the 
summer season, when shaded by the overhanging grove of trees, had a 
very rural and pleasant effect. 

In this street there stood a large house, once the residence of Sir W 
Wild, Kt, Recorder of London, and afterwards one of the Justices of 
the Court of Common Pleas and King's Bench. In the reign of 
Charles II. it was held for a term, under the Corporation of London, which 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 97 

expired some years ago, and the house was then pulled down. Farther 
on, at the corner or the lane leading to Brockley, near the rookery and 
opposite the vicarage, is a large mansion, in excellent preservation, 
which for many generations was owned by the family of Le ThieuUier, 
the first of whom was Sir John Le ThieuUier, a Hamburgh' merchant, 
who advanced himself by his industry in trade; whose descendants 
continued to hold it until John Green Le ThieuUier, Esq. alienated it 
in 1776 to Mr. Sclater, of Rotherhithe. Some years after it came into 
the possession of Messrs. Parker and Sons, the eminent solicitors of 
Lewisham, and one of the late firm, George Parker, Esq., J. P. at pfesent 
occupies it as his private residence. This gentleman has expended a 
considerable sum in restoring the noble old mansion to its former 
grandeur. 

Besides the parish church of St Mary, Lewisham, there are the 
ecclesiastical districts of St. Stephen*s and St. Mark's. 

St. Stephen's is a very large district, and includes a great number of 
the houses of the poor. The vicar, the Rev. R. R. Bristow, is deserving 
of all praise for his kind attention to his parishioners, especially 
the poor, and his election and re-election as a Guardian of the Poor, 
is a testimony of their appreciation of his labours. At the present 
time a handsome mission church, situate in the Algernon-road, Loampit 
Vale, is drawing towards completion, which is to be for the use of the 
inhabitants of that part of the district. 

Hither Green is the name of that part of Lewisham situated about 
a mile south-east of Lewisham Church, on a most delightful eminence. 

It formerly consisted of five gentlemen's villas and a few cottages, 
the principal of the former, called Hither Green Lodge, was one time 
occupied by Captain James Young, one of the Elder Brethren of the 
Trinity House ; another, adjoining George-lane, is the property of 
Peter Hubert Desvignes, Esq. 

This place commands a very extensive view, particularly eastward, 
where the spire of Eltham Church and Eltham Palace is embosomed 
in trees ; and a little to the north is the Castle of Severndroog, Shooters 
Hill, and Blackheath Park and Lee Church spires. 

On the eastern side of Hither Green-lane, near Grove Park, is Lee 
Parochial Cemetery, its pretty chapels, lodge, and grounds forming a 
pleasing break in an otherwise very rural scene. Everything here is 
kept in order in a most efficient manner by Mr. Fry, superintendent. 

About a quarter of a mile west of Hither Green, leading from 
George-lane, is Mountfield House, the residence of H. T. Stainton, 
Esq., which is erected on a charming eminence ; farther on to the 
south end of the parish, is the estate and farms of the late Samuel 
Forster, Esq., with a villa at the corner of the road leading to 
Beckenham. This gentleman had a large tract of land in the direction 
of Sydenham Hills. 

Within this century the whole of this part was a wild common, the 
resort of. gipsies and vagrants ; but it is now covered with delightful 
villas at the sides of the road leading to Norwood. On the left side 
of the entrance to Hither Green-lane, until the year i860, stood the 
old-established nurseries of Messrs. Willmot and Chaundy, extending 
to Lee, a most delightful walk at all seasons, more especially when 
many acres were in profuse bloom with sweet peas, and perennials of 
every variety, such as stocks, larkspurs, lupins, mignonette, asters, 
and many others. At the expiration of the lease (originally granted, 

7 



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98 



HISTORY OF LEE 



many years ago, to the old firm, Messrs. Russell and Willmot, the first 
tenants) this ancient and well-stocked nursery came to grief, as in 
consequence of the land being so pleasantly situated, and the air so 
healthy, it was required for building purposes. It is now covered with 
a number of genteel houses, which have been constructed with astonish- 
ing rapidity on Eastdown Park, and which are daily augmenting, being 
much sought after by those whose business is in the city, and who seek 
a residence here. 

There is also a large increase of new buildings on the old Priory 
Farm Estate, Rushey Green, Catford, and Stanstead lanes, which with 
the addition of new railroads and stations, have very much added to 
the Quinquennial Valuation List of the various parishes in the 
Lewisham Union. We have the great pleasure of laying before our 
readers the annexed statement of the area and population returns of 
1 88 1, together with the expenditure of the Guardians of the several 
Parishes in the Lewisham Union, in respect of the last parochial 
financial year, ending Lady Day, i88-i : — 



According to Census, 1881. 



Houses. 



Parishes. 



Area 

in 
Acres. 



Eltham 3,783. 

Lee 1,238. 

Lewisham ... 5,774. 

Mottingham . . . 643 . 



Popu- 
lation. 

5,048... 
14,432... 

53,053... 
779... 



In- 
habited. 

. 883.. 

. 2,265.. 

. 8,695.. 

130.. 



Un- 
inha- 
bited, 

39 



Gross and Rateable 
Values according to the 

last approved 
Valuation Lists, 188 1. 



Gross. Rateable. 

£ £ 

55,791-. • 47,598 
372... 140,862... 117,621 

1,135 ..459,39i... 376,087 
33... 6,906... 5,853 



Totals... 



11,438 73,312 11,973 1,579 662,950 547,159 



13,552 . 



Numbers relieved at the Cost of the Union in the Workhouse and 
other Establishments during the year : — 



Establishments. 


Men. 


Women. 


Children. 


Total. 


Workhouse 


269 . 


.. 249 . 


.. 151 •• 


669 


North Surrey Dist. School, Anerley 


— . 




.. 202 .. 


202 


Kent County Lunatic Asylum ... 


43 . 


44 . 


I .. 


88 


Casual Wards 


7,722 . 


.. 1,561 . 


.. 478 .. 


. 9,761 


Other Establishments 


17 • 


.. 27 . 


.. 49 .. 


93 



Totals 



8,051 1,881 881 10,813 



Number of Out-door Poor relieved during the year : — 



Parishes. 


Men. 


Women. 


Children. 


Total. 


Eltham 


... 56 


... 74 


... 103 .. 


233 


Lee 


... 71 


... 129 


... 126 .. 


326 


Lewisham 


... 476 


... 754 


•.. 935 .. 


. 2,165 


Mottingham 


... 25 


... 27 


... 59 .. 


III 



Totals 



628 



984 



1,223 



2,835 



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AND ITS NEIGHBOURHOOD. 99 

Total Expenditure by the Guardians in respect of each Parish in con- 
nection with the Relief of the Poor during the same period : — 
Parish. £ s, d, 

Eltham ... ... ... 3,786 12 6 

Lee 8,919 4 5 

Lewisham 28,897 8 i 

Mottingham 512 10 4 



Total ... ^42,115 15 4 

The total number of births, marriages, and deaths registered during 
the year, in each parish, were as follows: — Eltham, births, 128; marri- 
ages, 27^ deaths, 74. Lee, births, 363; marriages, 75; deaths, 200. 
Lewisham, births, 1,612 ; marriages, 321; deaths, 753. Mottingham, 
births, 28; deaths, 8. Totals for the Union — births, 2,131 ; marriages, 
423 ; deaths, 1,035. 

The number of Guardians for the whole Union are — ex-officio^ 1 1 ; 
elected, 15 ; total, 26. 

To show the extraordinary increase of inhabitants in this neighbour- 
hood, we give the Census Returns for Lee, for each decade, from the 
year 1841, when the number returned was 2,359; i^ 1851 — 3,552; 
in 1861 — 6,159; in 1871 — 10,493; in 1881 — 14,433. 

A succession of reverses in trade, and general business depression, 
combined with the very large increase of population in the Metropolitan 
District, have of necessity tended to increase pauperism within the 
Lewisham Union District (as also in the other Unions and Parishes 
situate within the Metropolitan area) ; so much so, that it has become 
absolutely necessary to make further provision for the reception and 
maintenance of the poor (especially the sick poor) of the locality. 
The Guardians have therefore, pending certain large and important 
alterations and additions about to be made to the present workhouse, 
erected at the rear of those premises a large temporary iron building, 
which is now being used as additional workhouse accommodation. 

The building (though temporary) is at the present time an important 
adjunct to the establishment, and everything that could be desired to 
make it cheerful and comfortable has been accomplished Mrs. Penn, 
of The Cedars, Lee, with her usual generosity and large-hearted 
sympathy towards her poor neighbours, has provided a bountiful supply 
of wall pictures for the iron building, which have greatly enhanced the 
cheerfulness and comfort of the building, and have also evoked the cor- 
dial thanks of the Guardians, and the devout gratitude of the inmates. 
The pictures will doubtless be eventually transferred to the new per- 
manent buildings when erected, and will be preserved as a memento of 
their kind donor. Long may that devoted lady be spared to bless, with 
her willing hand and heart, " the poor and needy that crieth, and him 
that hath no helper I" 




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ADDENDA. 

Consecration of the Church of The Good Shepherd — St. Mildred's made a separate 

Ecclesiastical Parish. 

||lNCE writing the foregoing History, some events have occurred 
which we must record in this our last page. 
« « ♦ « ♦ 

On Monday, December 12th, 188 1, the Lord Bishop of Rochester 
consecrated the Church of The Good Shepherd, in Handen-road, the 
clergy present including the Hon. and Rev. Canon Legge, rural dean, 
and vicar of Lewisham ; the Rev. F. H. Law, rector of Lee ; the Rev. 
R. R. Bristow, vicar of St. Stephen's, Lewisham ; the Rev. G. T. P. 
Streeter ; the Revds. W. A. Brameld, R. P. Willock, and C. D. Farrar, 
assistant-curates of St Margaret's, Lee. There were also present Chas. 
Clark, Esq., and Fredk. Booker, Esq., churchwardens, and F. H. Hart, 
Esq., sidesman. J. P. Tate, Esq., sidesman, whose devotion to church 
extension and restoration is well known, was absent through illness. 

[This is the sixth church consecration in the parish of Lee at which 
the author of this work has been present ; the first being in 181 3. The 
writer is now in his 76th year.] 

The interior of the church has a remarkably open appearance, and 
light is admitted by four large semi-circular windows. The fittings in 
the church are very plain but substantial. The furniture, carpets, has- 
socks, &c., have been provided by the congregation of St. Margaret's, 
through a special offertory, which, including a gift of ;^25o for organ, 
from Mr., Mrs., and Miss Barnes Williams, amounted to nearly ;^550. 
There are 650 chairs as sittings, which are all free. 

The builders were Messrs. Maides and Harper, of Croydon ; and 
the architect, Mr. Ernest Newton. 

The attendance at the services, since the opening, is most en- 
couraging, as are also the offertories. 

♦ * ♦ ♦ ♦ 

During last summer. Her Majesty issued an Order in Council 
assigning to St. Mildred's, Burnt Ash Hill, a consolidated chapelry from 
the parishes of St Margaret and Christ Church, and constituting that a 
separate parish for all ecclesiastical purposes. 



THE END. 




Printed by Charles North, ** The Ue Press,'' sg. Turner Road, Lee, Kent. 



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